Powerful telescopes such as NASA's upcoming James Webb Space Telescope can also further study these exoplanets in order to search for important characteristics, like the atmospheric composition and whether or not they could support life.
The sperm cell must be activated and then change slightly as it swims towards an egg to fertilise it.
Kathryn Sipple co-presents a radio show for the children on Neptune Ward at Southend Hospital, and she is also one of the youngest members of local amateur radio group Essex Ham. In a bid to study the deep interior of the Red Planet and find traces of how it was formed, NASA is all set to send a first-ever such mission to Mars.
The scientific study is part of NASA's Micro-11 mission, which contains samples of frozen human and bull sperm. According to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, "previous experiments with sea urchin and bull sperm suggest that activating movement happens more quickly in microgravity, while the steps leading up to fusion happen more slowly, or not at all. Delays or problems at this stage could prevent fertilization from happening in space". Researchers will use video to assess how well the space sperm move. So, the measurements of bull sperm will provide quality control to ensure the researchers can detect subtle differences in sperm from both species. By studying it alongside the human sperm, astronauts will be able to figure out whether any odd behavior they're seeing is a result of something unusual about a particular sperm sample or the effects of microgravity.
We don't know yet how long-duration spaceflight affects human reproductive health, and this investigation would be the first step in understanding the potential viability of reproduction in reduced-gravity conditions.
Afterward, the spermatozoa will be returned to the University of Kansas to see whether time in space altered their behavior.
With talk of space tourism and even trips to Mars, NASA has launched human sperm to the International Space Station (ISS) to test what happens when it gets exposed to zero-gravity environment.