Reproduction in space 'a concerning matter'; babies born on other planets could be 'vastly different'!
The point he put forward was that if humans are seeking long-term settlement in deep space, sex cannot be forgotten.
New Delhi: Space agencies around the world have their keen sights set on infiltrating the surface of Mars with manned probes in the near future.
Preparations for the same have been lined up with challenges, but scientists know that giving up is not an option and numerous studies and experiments are under way to bring the Martian dream to fruit.
From landing sites to human housing on Mars, everything has been taken into account, however, looks like someone has been thinking out of the box.
During a recent panel discussion, Kris Lehnhardt, an assistant professor from the George Washington University put his finger on a 'pressing' matter – sexual activity in space.
The point he put forward was that if humans are seeking long-term settlement in deep space, sex cannot be forgotten. He further explained that human reproduction is a ‘crucial issue that we have to address,’ yet so far remains poorly understood.
Speaking at The Atlantic’s ‘On the Launchpad: Return to Deep Space’ webcast event, Lehnhardt explained that there are many things we still need to learn about human space flight, including its effects on biology and nutrition.
But, in particular, the workings and potential outcomes of sex in space largely remain a mystery.
‘Something we really don’t know about is human reproduction in space,’ Lehnhardt said.
‘Not only how our reproductive systems adapt to the space environment, but if we actually want to go places, and we want to stay there – if we’re talking about colonization, there’s a key component to colonization that makes it possible, and that is having babies.
‘And this is something that we frankly have never studied dramatically, because it’s not been relevant to date.
‘But if we want to become a spacefaring species, and we want to live in space permanently, this is a crucial issue that we have to address, that just has not been fully studied yet,’ the Daily Mail reported.
Earlier this year, researchers in Japan revealed that they’d successfully used freeze-dried mouse sperm that had lived on the International Space Station (ISS) for nine months to birth healthy pups, Space.com points out.
While this may be a step towards a positive outcome, the insights into human reproduction in space are still a bit blurry.
‘We don’t even know if a baby born in space, whether it’s in microgravity or on the surface of a celestial body, we have no idea how they’re going to develop,’ Lehnhardt said.
‘Will they develop bones the way that we do? Will they ever be capable of coming to Earth, and actually standing up?
‘So we’re basically, at that point, talking about people who are going to be – if they exist in the future – are going to be vastly different from what we are.
‘And that may be kind of a turning point in human history,’ the Daily Mail report said.