Humans will be able to reproduce on Mars because sperm can survive there for up to 200 years, scientists have found.
Hopes of a space colony are a step closer but there are still questions over how people could have sex in the Red Planet’s micro-gravity.
Experts had previously thought radiation in space would corrupt our DNA and make breeding impossible.
But this changed when scientists kept mouse sperm on the International Space Station for six years and found it was still healthy.
Hopes of a space colony have come a step closer but there are still questions over how people could have sex on the Red Planet’s micro-gravity. Pictured: How the team at Yamanashi University in Japan led the experiment
Experts had previously thought radiation in space would corrupt our DNA and make breeding impossible (file photo)
The liquid from 66 mice was first put in more than 30 glass ampules in 2012. Scientists then decided the best ones to produce offspring.
Three were launched to the ISS on August 4, 2013, and the other three were kept on the ground in Tsukuba, Japan, in almost the same conditions.
Here they were exposed to space’s vicious radiation.
The first box was returned home on May 19, 2014, and confirmed whether the experiment had been working properly or not.
After examining this sample and comparing it with the ground one, the experts decided to go ahead with the project.
The second box was returned on May 11, 2016, two years and nine months after being launched.
The last one was sent back on June 3, 2019, five years and 10 months later, which made it the longest space experiment in biological research history.
The liquid was first put in more than 30 glass ampules from 66 mice in 2012. Scientists then decided the best ones to produce offspring. Pictured: The scientists examined sperm damage
Professor Sayaka Wakayama, from the university, said: ‘Many genetically normal offspring were obtained. These discoveries are essential for mankind.’ Pictured: They also examinated sperm damage after fertilisation
Following the experiment in space and on Earth, the experts looked at embryo quality and full-term development (pictured)
The ground-control boxes were also returned from JAXA to the Yamanashi University in Japan at the same time.
Professor Sayaka Wakayama said: ‘Many genetically normal offspring were obtained. These discoveries are essential for mankind.
‘When the time comes to migrate to other planets, we will need to maintain the diversity of genetic resources, not only for humans but also domestic animals.’
The discovery came three days after NASA’s Ingenuity helicopter made its seventh successful flight on Mars.
This time it landed in an airfield that had only previously been seen by a Mars orbiter.
The four-pound helicopter made its successful journey on June 6, more than two weeks after its last flight.
‘Another successful flight,’ NASA JPL tweeted. The miniature helicopter flew for 62.8 seconds, traveling 348ft south before settling down in a new airfield.
The drone also took a black-and-white photo during its flight.
NASA’s Ingenuity helicopter made its seventh successful flight on Mars, this time landing in an airfield that had only previously been seen by a Mars orbiter
The 4-pound helicopter made its successful journey on June 6, more than two weeks after its last flight
INGENUITY: FIRST SEVEN FLIGHTS ON MARS
- Flight one: April 19, 2021 with a vertical takeoff up to 9.8ft, stationary hover and a landing
- Flight two: April 22, 2021 with a vertical takeoff up to 16ft, hover, then shift westward for 14ft before returning and landing
- Flight three: April 25, 2021 with a vertical takeoff up to 16ft, hover, shift northwards for 328ft at an airspeed of 2 m/s before returning to land
- Flight four: April 30, 2021 with a vertical takeoff up to 16ft, hover, shift southwards 873ft at 3.5m/s before returning to land
- Flight five: May 7, 2021 with a vertical takeoff up to 33ft, hover, shift southwards 423ft at 3.5 m/s before landing at that new location
- Flight six: May 22, 2021 with a vertical takeoff of 33ft, hover, shift southwest 492ft at 9mph, travel 49ft south, travel 164ft before returning to land
This airfield, previously observed by the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, is the fourth it has landed on since the Perseverance rover landed on the Red Planet on February 18.
On May 22, Ingenuity’s sixth flight took some unwanted turns, resulting in an ‘unexpected motion’ due to an ‘image processing issue.’
At the time, NASA said the helicopter ‘landed safely and is ready to fly again.’
Ingenuity first deployed from Perseverance on April 3, starting a 30-day clock to make its first powered flight.
Ingenuity, which is just 18-inches tall, made its first flight on April 19, 2021, making history as the first powered controlled flight on another planet.
Since then it has completed six successful flights, the first five as part of a ‘technical demonstration’ to prove something could fly on Mars.
The sixth and seventh flights are part of an extended mission support role, helping Perseverance.
While airborne, Ingenuity keeps track of its motion using an onboard inertial measurement unit (IMU) – that tracks acceleration and rotation rates.
By integrating this information over time, it is possible to estimate where it is, how fast it is moving, and how it is oriented in space.
The onboard control system reacts to the estimated motions by adjusting control inputs rapidly – at a rate of 500 times per second.
Perseverance is currently heading south from its landing spot on the Jezero Crater, where it landed 107 sols (Martian days) ago. So far, it has driven 0.32 miles within the crater
Despite encountering an anomaly on its sixth flight, the helicopter landed within 16ft of the intended landing location and did so due to ‘stability margins’ within flight control
The $2.7billion Perseverance is currently heading south from its landing spot on the Jezero Crater, where it landed 107 sols (Martian days) ago, on February 18.
So far, it has driven 0.32 miles within the crater, NASA said, where it is performing a number of tasks, including searching for evidence of ancient life.
At this point, it’s unclear how many more times Ingenuity, which cost $85 million to build and operate, will fly.
Lori Glaze, director of NASA’s Planetary Science Division, said ‘We’re in a kind of see-how-it-goes phase,’ in a recent press briefing, according to Insider.
NASA MARS 2020: THE MISSION WILL SEE THE PERSEVERANCE ROVER AND INGENUITY HELICOPTER SEARCH FOR LIFE
NASA’s Mars 2020 mission will search for signs of ancient life on the Red Planet in a bid to help scientists better understand how life evolved on Earth.
Named Perseverance, the main car-sized rover is explore an ancient river delta within the Jezero Crater, which was once filled with a 1,600ft deep lake.
It is believed that the region hosted microbial life some 3.5 to 3.9 billion years ago and the rover will examine soil samples to hunt for evidence of the life.
Nasa’s Mars 2020 rover (artist’s impression) is searching for signs of ancient life on Mars in a bid to help scientists better understand how life evolved on our own planet
The $2.5 billion (£1.95 billion) Mars 2020 spaceship launched on July 30 with the rover and helicopter inside – and landed successfully on February 18, 2021.
Perseverance landed inside the crater and will collect samples that will eventually be returned to Earth for further analysis.
A second mission will fly to the planet and return the samples, perhaps by the later 2020s in partnership with the European Space Agency.
This concept art shows the Mars 2020 rover landing on the red planet via NASA’s ‘sky-crane’ system