Elon Musk’s SpaceX Falcon 9 has launched human and bull sperm into space, traveling to the International Space Station (ISS) for NASA to conduct tests to determine the viability of semen in space.
Previously NASA has tested how Sea Urchin Sperm fairs in microgravity, and discovered that it activated quicker in lower-gravity conditions. The current test on human and bull semen is being carried out to see how viable reproduction is in space, hoping to get a better understanding of how humans will survive when living on Mars.
Once the frozen sperm samples reach the ISS, they will be thawed by astronauts and mixed with chemicals that will activate the semen’s cells. The previous test on sea urchin sperm revealed that while they did activate quicker in space, it took a lot longer for them to fuse with the egg.
In a statement, NASA said “We still don’t know how long-duration space missions affect human reproductive health, and whether infertility may be a risk for future astronauts. In addition, a successful base on the Moon or Mars may require self-perpetuating colonies of animals and plants.”
The Falcon 9 successfully launched on Monday at 1.30 p.m. Pacific time. It will remain docked to the ISS for 30 days before returning to Earth with cargo, including NASA’s Robonaut 2, which has been on the ISS since 2011.
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