back to article Mouse sperm kept frozen in SPAAAAACE yields healthy pups

Japanese scientists say reproducing in space could be possible one day, after preserved mouse spermatozoa kept on the International Space Station resulted in healthy offspring. “If humans ever start to live permanently in space, assisted reproductive technology using preserved spermatozoa will be important for producing …

  1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

    A bit gimmicky?

    Can't help feeling it would have been easier to irradiate the sperm down here on Earth.

    1. Gene Cash Silver badge

      Re: A bit gimmicky?

      Then you'd have some irradiated sperm. That's rather pointless.

      You'd be missing things like the microgravity causing a redistribution of CNS fluid, causing pressure on the eyes, causing astronauts to have vision problems, which sometimes doesn't go away when they land.

      Are second and third order effects like that important? Are there effects we don't know about? Does it affect things like sperm? We don't know. So we did an experiment.

      Good thing we have people like you to check up on us.

      1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

        Re: A bit gimmicky?

        The opening half-dozen paragraphs of the article state quite clearly that the purpose of the study was not these second or third order effects, but rather the irradiation that I mentioned. Even if it hadn't been, how would you test a mouse for a mild impairment to some as-yet-unidentified aspect of its general health? It's not like you can give them a questionnaire when they grow up.

        It is universally accepted (and fairly easy to argue with a back-of-the-envelope calculation) that gravity just isn't very important for small creatures and is vanishingly unimportant on the scale of a developing embryo. Whilst it is nice to check universally accepted wisdom from time to time, it seems rather poor value for money to test this one in this particular way. I genuinely hope that this work has either been grossly mis-reported (which is quite common and not necessarily the fault of the last reporter in the chain) or was not funded from the public purse.

        1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

          Re: A bit gimmicky?

          If I might add two further points...

          Embryos are fully immersed in liquid and bouyancy means that the net effect of gravitation on the developing embryo is zero even for an elephant on Earth.

          The likely importance of radiation on a developing embryo is so large that even if the mice had emerged hideously deformed, we'd assume that it was the radiation rather than the micro-gravity. We're therefore in the situation where we learn nothing about the effects of micro-gravity regardless of the result of the experiment.

  2. redpawn Silver badge

    We will Populate the Galaxy!

    Just send the frozen sperm and eggs and recombine them on the target planet. Have a robot raise, feed and train them to be just like us. Make sure to use human eggs and sperm though. Wouldn't want to be invaded by space faring mice.

    1. Voland's right hand Silver badge

      Re: We will Populate the Galaxy!

      You need to read Stanislav Lem.

      The subject of humans raised on an old arkship by robots is covered in one of the shorts from the Navigator Pirks chronicles. In that short the humans which were supposed to raise the kids died as a result of a radiation storm. The embryos were protected enough to survive, but were raised by the robot assistants after that. Many decades later instead of their target planet they orbit Earth.

      The rest - you can pick it in the actual story. It is quite funny (like most of Pirks).

      1. Bronek Kozicki Silver badge

        Re: We will Populate the Galaxy!

        It's "Pirx", not "Pirks". At least in most translations and in original.

      2. Chris G Silver badge

        Re: We will Populate the Galaxy!

        Also need to read 'The Seedling Stars' by James Blish, 3 novelettes together, best is Surface Tension. I read the book in my early teens after finding it in the local lbrary.( Bloody long time ago)

  3. Your alien overlord - fear me

    Yeah, but it's not going to be as fun as bonking in spaaaace!!!!! Which let's face it, is why we want to go there :-)

    1. MyffyW Silver badge

      Whilst I'd definitely be up for having a shag in space, I can't get the final scene of Moonraker out of my mind.

      M: "007 - what are you doing?"

      Q: "I think he's attempting re-entry, sir"

  4. malle-herbert Silver badge

    Gee, Brain, what do you want to do tonight?

    The same thing we do every night, Pinky, Try to take over space !!

  5. jake Silver badge

    Uh ...

    ... if the frozen sperm is subject to the same radiation as the live stuff, and receives the same damage (as hinted in the article) ... The Wife & I are in agreement, AI is out. Live cover rules!

  6. Chris G Silver badge

    " assisted reproductive technology "

    I'm sorry Dave, we have a replacement for you!

  7. AIBailey

    Someone, somewhere has a job in the Japanese space industry with an interesting name (astro-biologist or something). Their parents are extremely proud, their friends think it must be a cool job, their kids all excitedly tell their mates that they have a parent that does "space stuff" but in reality, they've had to go to work and wank a mouse.

    1. CustardGannet

      Well played, sir/madman.

      Presumably the downvote is from a Murine Semen Technician who's sick of people laughing at his job.

  8. M7S

    Mouse sperm creates pups?

    Ye gods, what kind of abominations are they breeding?

    Lest we forget:

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Mouse sperm creates pups?


      Dogs aren't the only animals that have "puppies".

      Baby mice, baby seals, and baby otters are all call "pups" too.

      1. Alister Silver badge

        Re: Mouse sperm creates pups?

        Oh dear, an AC with a complete sense of humour bypass.

      2. defiler Silver badge

        Re: Mouse sperm creates pups?

        I thought they'd be "kittens" like with rats. Oh well, shows you how little I know. Did they get little space helmets?

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Are we sure this study wasn't commissioned, paid for, and run by mice?

    1. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken Silver badge

      Douglas Adams certainly was on to something.

  10. Commswonk Silver badge

    Thinking about it...

    Microgravity is less of a problem. Previous studies involving other animals such as sea urchins, fish, amphibians and birds have concluded that it doesn’t hamper reproduction. But performing the same kind of trials with mammals is trickier.

    I would expect that human copulation in zero gravity could be quite, er, challenging. At the same time I would have thought that finding volunteers to try using that "diving aircraft" wouldn't be too hard.

    Could give a whole new meaning to the term "cockpit".

  11. Francis Boyle Silver badge

    Don't these so called scientists know anything

    Any legitimate research into sex into space has to be carried out in orbit about Uranus.

    1. AIBailey

      Re: Don't these so called scientists know anything

      Funny you should mention that...

  12. This post has been deleted by its author

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Well done

    To the mouse that managed to get his sperm into orbit in the first place.

  14. Mikel

    NASA is too prudish for practical research

    Musk, though... Two months is a long way to Mars.

    1. Mark Solaris

      Re: NASA is too prudish for practical research

      Yeah, I bet he'll have a lot of Amber's fluid on the way....

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