Making Babies in Space
Japanese scientists discovered that the breeding of mammals might only be possible on Earth. The latest research in interstellar procreation adds to an already large body of data on how the space environment effects reproduction.
To test theories on how the Earth's gravitational pull influences cellular development, mouse eggs were artificially fertilized and then placed in a machine that mimics weightlessness. Though fertilization was normal, the cells had trouble dividing and multiplying while in low-gravity. Few of the subsequent eggs that were implanted in mice survived to a healthy birth.
“Sustaining life beyond Earth either on space stations or on other planets will require a clear understanding of how the space environment affects key phases of mammalian reproduction,” explained the researchers.
Image: "Through the Looking Glass" by KevTis on Flickr, courtesy of Creative Commons.