Scientists have started plans for repopulation on the moon — starting with a sperm bank.
Mechanical engineers are calling it a “modern global insurance policy,” suggesting that humans establish a repository on the moon of reproductive cells — sperm and ova — from 6.7 million of Earth’s species, including humans.
This “sperm bank” would be below the moon’s surface.
As our planet faces increasing natural disasters, scientists say that humans need to focus on space travel and a possible home outside of Earth to preserve life as we know it.
“Earth is naturally a volatile environment,” author of the study, Jekan Thanga, said. Thanga’s team at the University of Arizona submitted their report, “Lunar Pits and Lava Tubes for a Modern Ark,” at the annual Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) Aerospace Conference over the weekend.
According to Thanga, the instability of Eath would leave sperm and ova samples vulnerable. Instead, Thanga suggests we should start a human seed vault on the moon as soon as possible. It would store reproductive cells in recently discovered lunar “pits” from which scientists believe lava once flowed billions of years ago.
The so-called “ark” would cryogenically preserve millions of species in the event of a global disaster. “We can still save them until the tech advances to then reintroduce these species — in other words, save them for another day,” Thanga said.
The moon pits are also the perfect size to store cells, according to Thanga. They are 80 to 100 meters deep and “provide readymade shelter from the surface of the moon,” which endures “major temperature swings.” They would also protect the cells from meteors and radiation.
Thanga says the mission is actually pretty “cost-effective,” according to his “back-of-an-envelope” estimations. Transporting 50 samples of each of the 6.7 million species would take 250 rocket launches. By comparison, 40 launches were required to build the International Space Station, which sits in low-Earth orbit — far closer than the moon.
“It’s not crazy big,” Thanga said. “We were a little bit surprised about that.”