Scientists have begun to lay plans for repopulation, starting with a sperm bank — on the moon.
In what they’re calling a “contemporary global insurance coverage,” mechanical engineers have proposed that humans establish a repository of reproductive cells, sperm and ova, from 6.7 million of Earth’s species, including humans.
And the proposed bank, or “ark,” would be beneath the moon’s surface.
As our planet faces natural disasters, drought, asteroids and the potential for nuclear war (to name a few troubles) scientists say that humans need to dwelling their sights on space travel to sustain existence as we understand it.
“Earth is naturally a volatile environment,” said search for author Jekan Thanga, whose team at the College of Arizona submitted their document, Lunar Pits and Lava Tubes for a New Ark, at the annual Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Aerospace Conference on Saturday.
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On account of the planet’s instability, he said, an Earth-based repository would leave specimens vulnerable. As such, Thanga proposed jumpstarting a planetary exodus of kinds by founding a human seed vault on the moon as soon as that you can imagine. It would store reproductive cells in currently chanced on lunar “pits” from which scientists judge lava once flowed billions of years ago.
The so-called “ark,” according to Thanga’s presentation, would then cryogenically sustain various species in the tournament of global disaster. “We can peaceful save them till the tech advances to then reintroduce these species — in other phrases, save them for another day,” he said.
The pits also are the ideal dimension for cell storage, according to Thanga. They promenade down 80 to 100 metres underground and “present readymade shelter from the surface of the moon,” which endures “major temperature swings,” as wisely as threats from meteorites and radiation.
Thanga said that many plants and animals are “critically endangered” and cited the eruption of Indonesia’s Mount Toba 75,000 years ago as a reason for fear, saying it “caused a 1,000-year cooling length and, according to some, aligns with an estimated fall in human variety.”
He sees a original-day parallel “because of human activity and other factors that we totally don’t understand,” he said, adding that already “there’s been rapid losses over the last few decades”.
The “ark” concept is already being employed at the Svalbard Global Seed Vault — housing plant seeds, that is — on the Norwegian island of Spitsbergen in the Arctic Circle, where scientists say the massive stone structure can bear, undisturbed by humans or the aspects. There are over 992,000 unusual samples, with each containing an average of 500 seeds.
Thanga added that he was “surprised” by how “heed-efficient” the mission can be, according to his “back-of-an-envelope” estimations. To transport 50 samples of each species (6.7 million target) would take 250 rocket launches.
By comparison, 40 launches have been required to make the International Space Station, which sits in low-Earth orbit — far nearer than the moon.
“It’s no longer crazy large,” Thanga insisted. “We have been a puny bit surprised about that.”
This narrative originally appeared on the New York Put up and is reproduced right here with permission
Plans for a sperm bank on the moon