20 thoughts on “Sperm On Mars”

  1. We also have no idea how to conduct basic medical procedures in partial or zero gravity. How does one handle hemorrhaging in zero gravity, for example? Or minor surgery with blood floating around all over?

    If you are beyond low earth orbit, you can’t just have the entire crew run to the “lifeboat” when one of the crew slices open a hand, or breaks a tooth, for example.

    You’d think by now we’d have an organization devoted to R&D that has put some effort into investigating just such questions. Or at least listing the questions that need addressing.

    1. These issues remind me of Eric Raymond’s book The Cathedral vs the Bazaar. You can pretend to be able to central plan and design here on the ground forever, but then the actual action takes place in the field.


      There probably won’t be one big government agency with various little depts. fully funded, each doing basic research on space medicine.

      Rather if the breakout occurs, it’ll be harried physicians in space trying to make do in tough circumstances. Like how we handled COVID-19 last year. No one knew how to treat the “novel coronavirus” back then, now, treatments are vastly better.

      It takes courage to be a pioneer, because the risk is far greater, but so are the rewards.

      1. Hopefully, treatments will be mostly unmolested by managers that got bent Grand Admiral of the Really Amazing Armada Like the Biggest You’ve Ever Seen, Astounding! said something would be good to try and might work.

    2. Has this issue not been dealt with on ISS? Surely after all these years, someone has had a bleeding injury in zero gravity?

      1. Obviously, a few have had some regular bleeding issues unless those natural processes were suppressed for the voyage.

      2. Well…Surgery in microgravity is possible and has already been been carried out, albeit not on humans yet. For example, astronauts on the ISS have managed to repair rat tails and perform laparoscopy.

        So some work has been done, but there’s a long way to go.

        Still, if I had to suffer a traumatic injury that required surgery, I’d rather do it on Mars than in zero-g.

    3. Mars is not ‘partial’ gravity (or even zero gravity, for goodness sake). It is at Mars standard gravity…which is 0.3794 Earth standard gravity.

      Since stuff still falls ‘down’ in Mars standard gravity, surgery should not be much of an issue. If blood welling is different, we have suction devices now that will deal with it.

      As far as medical procedures in actual zero-G, well…fortunately we haven’t had to find out. And until we start putting a surgically qualified team on every spacecraft, we won’t find out. But many space craft designs offer pseudo gravity which can be used to mitigate problems.

    4. Sure would be nice if we had taken the time to do some variable gravity work in low earth orbit.

      Looks like we’ll have to figure it out the hard way on Mars.

      I tend to think that surgical procedures will be minimally impacted by 0.38G. (Surgery in microgravity *is* possible and has already been been carried out on ISS, albeit not on humans yet; it has complications, though.) I think that’s enough gravity to avoid the obvious known issues. Human gestation, however, really is a wild card.

  2. ““Many genetically normal offspring were obtained,” said Wakayama, whose team estimates that freeze-dried semen could last aboard the ISS for up to 200 years.”

    I’m sure what ever papers were written mention this but how many not normal offspring were produced and how did that compare to the control sperm and natural births?

  3. Maybe it’s just me, but do we really need sperm to last two centuries in order to reproduce?

    1. “Maybe it’s just me, but do we really need sperm to last two centuries in order to reproduce?”

      Just in case female “headaches” last longer on Mars….longer year you know

    2. This may be aimed at possible future “generation” ships, in hopes that if the passengers themselves lose reproductive capacity during the flight, they could still defrost a next generation to man the ship.

        1. It did. For those who don’t know (and I didn’t till just now) the name is a link. You’ll see it when you hover over it. Then click.

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