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Scientists Want To Send 6.7 Million Sperm Samples To The Moon

by : Emily Brown on : 12 Mar 2021 08:21
Scientists Want To Send 6.7 Million Sperm Samples To The MoonPexels/NASA

Scientists have suggested sending 6.7 million sperm samples to the moon as a ‘modern global insurance policy’ to protect mankind against worldwide catastrophes. 

A team of six researchers from the University of Arizona presented their idea at the annual Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) Aerospace Conference last weekend, with study author Jekan Thanga explaining that ‘Earth is naturally a volatile environment.’

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Humans have already experienced natural disasters including tsunamis, earthquakes and tornadoes, and the planet will no doubt face many more in the future, alongside risks of drought, asteroids and the potential for nuclear war.

firesPA Images

With these potentially life-ending situations in mind, the team proposed that humans establish an ‘ark’ that would lie beneath the surface of the moon and contain reproductive cells, including sperm, eggs, spores, and seeds, from 6.7 million of Earth’s species to help preserve life as we know it.

The scientists stressed that humans must set their sights on space travel to protect mankind, with Thanga pointing out that an Earth-based repository would leave specimens vulnerable to disasters.

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The research proposed founding a human ‘seed vault’ on the moon as soon as possible in recently discovered lunar ‘pits’, which reach 80-100 metres below group and are believed to have once flowed with lava. Thanga said they ‘provide readymade shelter from the surface of the moon,’ which endures ‘major temperature swings,’ as well as threats from meteorites and radiation, the New York Post reports.

There, the ‘ark’ would cryogenically preserve various species in the event of global disaster.

Thanga said: ‘We can still save them until the tech advances to then reintroduce these species — in other words, save them for another day.’

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The recommendation for the ark comes as many plants and animals are ‘seriously endangered’. It is a similar concept to the Svalbard Global Seed Vault, which is located in the Arctic Circle and contains more than 992,000 unique samples of plant seeds.

Svalbard Global Seed Vault OutsidePA Images

Thanga noted that the eruption of Indonesia’s Mount Toba 75,000 years ago ’caused a 1,000-year cooling period and, according to some, aligns with an estimated drop in human diversity’, and explained that he sees a current-day parallel ‘due to human activity and other factors that we fully don’t understand.’

Though sending 6.7 million sperm samples to the moon sounds like a big mission, Thanga admitted that the team were ‘a little bit surprised’ about how ‘cost-effective’ the mission could be. He estimated that to transport 50 samples of each species would take 250 rocket launches.

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Emily Brown

Emily Brown first began delivering important news stories aged just 13, when she launched her career with a paper round. She graduated with a BA Hons in English Language in the Media from Lancaster University, and went on to become a freelance writer and blogger. Emily contributed to The Sunday Times Travel Magazine and Student Problems before becoming a journalist at UNILAD, where she works on breaking news as well as longer form features.

Topics: Science, Extinction, Humans, Moon, Space

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New York Post
  1. New York Post

    Scientists want to send 6.7M sperm samples to the moon