The International Space Station (ISS) is a floating laboratory home to many experiments and a small group of astronauts.
Now, the ISS has some new creatures aboard the floating lab, and they have been dubbed "space pups". The "space pups" are actually mice that were born from frozen sperm that was kept on the ISS for six weeks prior to the birth. Why were mice born on the ISS? Researchers are exploring the question if fertility in space is different from here on Earth. Gravity and radiation being the main factors that are being tested.
So far, researchers know that sperm behave differently in microgravity and that the radiation in space can be potentially harmful as well. The researchers took mice sperm, sealed it in vials, freeze-dried it, and sent it to the ISS. The mice sperm spent a considerable amount of time aboard the ISS and then was transported back to Earth, where it was then used to impregnate mice. The researchers on Earth found no abnormalities in the pups the mice on Earth gave birth to. The very same goes for the space pups that were birthed on the ISS.
The researchers wrote, "These space pups did not show any differences compared to the ground-control pups, and their next-generation also had no abnormalities".
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