'Space pups' born from freeze-dried mouse sperm stored on space station
These healthy "space pups" are the children of freeze-dried mouse sperm that launched to the International Space Station as part of a six-year-long experiment into the effects of space radiation on fertility.
Freeze-dried mouse sperm that spent months at the International Space Station (ISS) returned to Earth and successfully fertilized mouse ovary eggs to produce twitchy-nosed "space pups" — for science.
The Japanese researchers behind the new work, which they published today (June 11) in a new paper, wanted to know how space radiation affects fertility in mammals. Radiation can damage the DNA within cells, causing mutations (this is why dermatologists recommend using sunscreen). Environments on Earth with heavy radiation exposure can cause defects in the offspring of animals.
Space radiation in particular has been a major concern for countries like the U.S. and Japan that have sent many astronauts on lengthy missions into low Earth orbit. Farther space destinations are also on the horizon. NASA and other space agencies are developing systems that could support humans on monthslong journeys to other solar system destinations such as the moon and …
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