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Why NASA sent human sperm to space?

Previously several species, including frogs, salamanders, sea urchins, jellyfish, snails, medaka fish, nematode and other aquatic invertebrate animals, have successfully undergone breeding in space

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NASA Seeks Partnership With US Industry to Develop First Gateway Element
NASA seeks US partners to develop reusable systems for Moon mission, Pixabay

With talk of space tourism and even trips to Mars, NASA has launched human sperm to the International Space Station (ISS) to test what happens when it gets exposed to zero-gravity environment.

The mission, dubbed Micro-11, technically began on April 1, when NASA sent frozen human and bull sperm on board a Falcon 9 rocket to the ISS, the Inverse reported late on Thursday. The astronauts aboard the ISS will thaw and chemically activate the samples to prepare them for union with an egg. Using video recording they will track the sperm movements and send them back to Earth for further analysis.

ISS is a permanent base for astronauts stationed in the outer sky. Wikimedia Commons
Previously also many species have been breeded in outerspace. Wikimedia Commons

“Based on previous experiments, it seems the lack of gravity facilitates sperm mobility,” Fathi Karouia, lead scientist for NASA’s space biology project, was quoted as saying to Inverse.

“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 said.

The experiment could also offer new insights into the ways long-duration spaceflight will influence human reproduction. Though this is not the first time sperm has been sent into space for testing, it could offer new insights into the ways long-duration spaceflight will influence human reproduction.

Also Read: NASA sending first-ever mission to study Mars’ deep interior

“This research is looking at early fundamental microgravity science,” the report said. Previously several species, including frogs, salamanders, sea urchins, jellyfish, snails, medaka fish, nematode (roundworm, known as Caenorhabditis elegans), and other aquatic invertebrate animals, have successfully undergone breeding in space. Moroever, aquatic invertebrates like amphipods, gastropods (pond snails), ostracods and daphnia (water flea) produced their offspring or repeated their life-cycles under microgravity during four months in space, the report said. IANS

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Jupiter not as Dry as it was Predicted to be: NASA Scientists

Jupiter not as dry as earlier thought, reveals new NASA probe

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Jupiter
Jupiter may not be as dry as earlier shown by a NASA probe, according to the first science. (Representational Image). Pixabay

The largest planet in our solar system may not be as dry as earlier shown by a NASA probe, according to the first science results revealed by the US space agency’s Juno mission on the amount of water in Jupiter’s atmosphere.

At the equator, water makes up about 0.25 per cent of the molecules in Jupiter’s atmosphere — almost three times that of the Sun, said the study published in the journal Nature Astronomy.

These are also the first findings on the gas giant’s abundance of water since NASA’s 1995 Galileo mission suggested Jupiter might be extremely dry compared to the Sun. The comparison is based not on liquid water but on the presence of its components, oxygen and hydrogen, present in the Sun.

“We found the water in the equator to be greater than what the Galileo probe measured,” said Cheng Li, a Juno scientist at the University of California, Berkeley. “Because the equatorial region is very unique at Jupiter, we need to compare these results with how much water is in other regions,” Li said.

An accurate estimate of the total amount of water in Jupiter’s atmosphere has been on the wish lists of planetary scientists for decades. The figure in the gas giant represents a critical missing piece to the puzzle of our solar system’s formation.

Jupiter
These are also the first findings on the gas giant’s abundance of water since NASA’s 1995 Galileo mission suggested Jupiter might be extremely dry compared to the Sun. (Representational Image). Pixabay

Jupiter was likely the first planet to form, and it contains most of the gas and dust that was not incorporated into the Sun.

Water abundance also has important implications for the gas giant’s meteorology (how wind currents flow on Jupiter) and internal structure. While lightning — a phenomenon typically fuelled by moisture — detected on Jupiter by Voyager and other spacecraft implied the presence of water, an accurate estimate of the amount of water deep within Jupiter’s atmosphere remained elusive.

Before the Galileo probe stopped transmitting 57 minutes into its Jovian descent in December 1995, it radioed out spectrometer measurements of the amount of water in the gas giant’s atmosphere down to a depth of about 120 kilometres. The scientists working on the data were dismayed to find ten times less water than expected.

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A rotating, solar-powered spacecraft Juno was launched in 2011. Because of the Galileo probe experience, the mission seeks to obtain water abundance readings across large regions of the immense planet.

The Juno science team used data collected during Juno’s first eight science flybys of Jupiter to generate the findings. (IANS)