For the first time, err, officially, NASA will set loose human sperm in outer space.
The Micro-11 mission, which made its way to space aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket’s Dragon resupply capsule, amounts to a bunch of containers of frozen human and bull sperm. Aboard the International Space Station (ISS), scientists will thaw the sperm, according to a NASA statement, and then study it to see how weightlessness affects its ability to move and prepare to fuse with an egg.
“Previous experiments with sea urchin and bull sperm suggest that activating movement happens more quickly in microgravity,” NASA officials wrote, “while the steps leading up to fusion happen more slowly, or not at all. Delays or problems at this stage could prevent fertilization from happening in space.”