Does a planet with zero gravity exist?
Having Children on Mars: An Unsolvable Problem?
So far, however, nothing indicates that the MICEHAB will soon set off for the moon. And even if it did, some scientists fear that it might not answer the questions that concern us humans. Human reproduction itself is vastly different from the reproduction of other primates. Nodler says that no organism that has been studied so far is an adequate substitute for this. The endocrinologist specializes in assisted reproductive techniques.
"If you look at early IVF studies, a lot of the mouse and primate studies were skipped because they're just not the same thing," he says. "It cannot be emphasized enough that at some point we have to conduct studies on humans to find out what is really going on."
Embryos and ethics
The decision about which experiments should be carried out depends entirely on the objective, comments Nodler. And whether we deviate a bit from the “normal” framework of reproduction and potentially want to rely more on assisted reproductive technologies in order to produce a generation of Martians.
“Is it because we want to find out if we can send a man and a woman into space, have the two of them there, and have a baby?” He asks. "Or is the question more whether we can freeze a bunch of embryos on Earth, send them to Mars and thaw them there?"
The first experiment would be technically easy to carry out, but it may have a few ethical pitfalls. Researching the exact effects of space on human embryos would be a little more complicated, but with today's technology it is absolutely possible. However, there are far more ethical and moral concerns.
For example, scientists could send sperm and eggs to the ISS and try in vitro fertilization there to see if the process would work. Then one could compare how many embryos have developed compared to control groups on earth.
Gallery: Space: What do we want there?
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