All-female astronaut crews could reproduce in space without the help of accompanying men, new research suggests.
The study found that frozen samples of sperm exposed to microgravity retained similar characteristics to sperm samples kept on the ground, raising hopes that a sperm bank could one day be set up in space to help populate new worlds.
This could prove interesting for female astronauts, amid reports that future missions to Mars may involve women-only space crews.
Helen Sharman, the first British astronaut, said at a conference in 2017 that there had been an unreleased Nasa report exploring sexual desires of space crew members during potential missions to Mars. Sharman said the report had recommended space crews of the same gender – "all men or all women" – because they have better team cohesion.