BEACON TRANSCRIPT – A new research proves that space sperm can produce healthy offspring. Scientists froze mouse sperm, flew it to the International Space Station and preserved it there for nine months, and then brought it back on Earth and used it to make babies. Then, healthy baby mice were born of it.
How does space radiation affect mouse sperm?
Researchers from University of Yamanashi, Japan, wanted to see if extreme space radiation could affect sperm or the offspring born from it. Therefore, they took dried samples to the International Space Station, at 250 miles in altitude, where radiation is 100 times more powerful than on Earth.
This experiment is preparing for a time when people might be spending more time in space. In the future, they might want to take frozen sperm and eggs and preserve it there, so it is important to know if such a method is feasible. The findings have been published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Space sperm was able to produce healthy offspring
Frozen sperm can be brought back to its initial form with water. During the first tests, scientists saw that it had suffered more damage than frozen sperm preserved on Earth. However, it was still able to fertilize eggs. This is good news for mice but, in case of humans, it might not work out the same. A longer period of time spent in space might produce irreversible DNA damage.
This is only one in a series of experiments performed on the International Space Station. Scientists at NASA want to see how humans can reverse the effects of prolonged exposure to zero gravity. They found that exercise could reduce bone damage. However, the astronauts’ vision is also affected, and the solution to this problem remains a mystery.
For the next experiments, scientists are going to continue using animals to see how space travel and living in zero gravity affects them. The next flight to the ISS will host fruit flies, which have a cardiovascular system similar to that of humans.
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