Sperm Bank in Space Could Help Us Colonize Mars, Researchers Say -- Are We Close To Reproduction Beyond Earth?

source: Pixabay

A new groundbreaking study by Spanish researchers found out a way to populate Mars through sperm bank in space.

The preliminary results presented at the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology in Vienna, Austria, revealed that frozen sperm samples were still viable after exposure to simulated space flight.

The research team exposed the human sperm of 10 healthy donors to micro-gravity to examine it for concentration, motility, vitality, morphology, and DNA fragmentation. It turned out that there was almost no significant difference between the quality of the sperm kept on Earth, and the one exposed to micro-gravity.

The scientists used an aerobatic training aircraft to expose the frozen sperm to micro-gravity for a few seconds. They opted for frozen sperm as radiation could potentially affect the quality of fresh sperm.

Dr. Montserrat Boada working for the Dexeus Women's Health in Barcelona who presented the findings pointed out that the results were still preliminary. She emphasized that her colleagues continue their work.

Now they would use a larger sperm sample, explained Boada, highlighting that the researcher would try exposing fresh sperm for a more extended period of micro-gravity to compare the results.

In her view, it is essential to examine the effects of long-term human exposure to space as the number of space missions increases every year, and we need to know how to combat potential adverse effects. She also mentioned that the best solution would be researchers to use a real spaceflight for their experiment, but the options were limited.

Boada also asserted that we could already start thinking of the possibility of reproduction beyond our plant.

The findings could be potentially interesting for female astronauts amid the rumors of a future mission to Mars involving a women-only space crew.

The first British astronaut, Helen Sharman, announced at a conference in 2017 the results of an unreleased NASA report, examining the sexual drive of space crew members during potential missions to Mars. The researchers recommended space crews of the same gender to achieve a better team cohesion, said Sharman.

Previous scientific studies seriously questioned the human abilities to reproduce in space. Many astronauts experienced loss of bone and blood volume, as well as atrophying muscles. In addition to that, according to some researchers, space travel could increase the likelihood of cancer. 

In addition to that, the radiation from galactic cosmic rays could potentially affect the brain, mental health, as well as human memory. According to a recent study, the longer astronauts are in space, the more likely they are to have herpes or to have chickenpox reactivated.

What do you think? Do you agree or disagree with the statement that it is now possible to think of reproduction beyond Earth?