We’ve been writing so much about Mars lately that we almost forgot about another familiar friendly face in the sky: the moon. Our constant companion, the subject of poetry, music and whole religions throughout human history. In 2021, Scientists looked up at our sweet sister of the solar system and thought “Man, it could use some jizz.”
Well, jizz and eggs, but eggs aren’t nearly as funny.
This is serious science so you know this is actually going to be equal parts amazing and depressing. Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) held its annual Aerospace Conference over the weekend. One of the presentations came from the University of Arizona and was titled: “Lunar Pits and Lava Tubes for a Modern Ark.” The presentation lays out that we’re willing to store a catalogue of Earth’s plant seeds in a remote Arctic island. Shouldn’t our precious bodily fluids get similar treatment?
[…] the bottom line of their proposal is that they want to build a sperm bank under the dusty regolith of the lunar surface, for safekeeping.
This “insurance policy” for the future of humanity and all of Earth’s species would be a repository of reproductive cells, including sperm and eggs. They propose that the bank could act as an ark, like the seed vault in Svalbard now, in case of catastrophe.
The University of Arizona team’s plans for a celestial sperm and egg locker involves storing the cells inside of lunar pits. The moon is pock-marked with 200 of these pits, which are 80 to 100 meters deep, where lava used to flow on the moon. They can protect against dramatic temperature changes, asteroids, or radiation.
See? Sending sperm to the moon just makes good ecological sense. The team was unclear on who’s genetic material would make it to the moon, but I have something of a modest proposal.
The team behind the Modern Ark concept are no slouches either. Jekan Thanga, who presented for the team, heads the Space and Terrestrial Robotic Exploration (SpaceTREx) Laboratory and the NASA-supported ASTEROIDS (Asteroid Science, Technology and Exploration Research Organised by Inclusive eDucation Systems) Laboratory at the University of Arizona. He reminded his audience that sending genetic material to the moon isn’t just funny to the immature bloggers of the world, it could be vital for biodiversity in the event of a major catastrophe or just plain old climate change.
The entire reason we may need to consider sending human and animal sperm and eggs to the moon is that Earth is an increasingly risky place for life, thanks mainly to us humans. From the video description of the talk:
It would serve as a global insurance policy. Earth faces probability of peril from various natural disasters and human threats such as global nuclear war that could wipe out a large number of species in a short time. Lunar lava tubes were discovered in 2013 and are likely to have remained pristine for 3-4 billion years. They are only 4-5 days from Earth. They are an excellent shelter against lunar surface temperature swings, cosmic radiation and micro-meteorites.
We humans might make the Earth so unlivable that life’s only hope would be to hide in underground tunnels on a the sterile moon. See? I knew we could turn something as rock n’ roll as a blog about jizz on the moon into something depressing. Science!