Human sperm sent to space by NASA

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New Delhi:

Talks of Space tourism and trips to Mars are making rounds and NASA has launched human sperm to International Space Station (ISS) to check the results when it gets uncovered to zero-gravity environment.

The mission named Micro-11 began on April 1 when NASA sent frozen bull and human sperm to the ISS through Falcon 9 rocket, according to reports on Thursday.

The astronauts in the ISS will defrost and chemically activate the samples. They will further track the sperm movements using video recording and send them back to Earth for further analysis.

"Based on previous experiments, it seems the lack of gravity facilitates sperm mobility," said Fathi Karouia, lead scientist for NASA's space biology project.

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"This is in line with other investigations on different model organisms which have shown that microgravity conditions trigger faster cell regeneration. This flight project is the first to apply proven analytical methods to assess the fertility of human and bovine sperm in spaceflight," Karouia added.

This is not the first time that sperm samples have been sent to space for tests, but this time it could offer new understanding of how human reproduction system will be influenced in long-duration spaceflights.

"This research is looking at early fundamental microgravity science," the report said.

Several species like salamanders, sea urchins, frogs, jellyfish and other aquatic species have successfully undergone breeding in space.

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