Cherishing the miracle of life
Our space exploration plans are best described as a dandelion, spreading the seeds of life.
Our Team & Advisors
Research & Industry Partners
Our research explores the conditions for mammalian
and human reproduction in space.
Alignment with research roadmaps
Our research is aligned with the research roadmaps towards reproduction in space, as recommended and defined by agencies like NASA and ESA and by our research partners. The learning process towards human reproduction beyond Earth involves many challenges in both medical, ethical, astro-biological, technical and legal areas. With experts in these domains we explore and address these challenges step by step.
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Improving IVF technology on-Earth
Besides our primary focus on enabling reproduction beyond Earth, our research results are expected to provide valuable results for improving reproductive technologies on Earth. The process of enabling IVF and embryo development in space (by re-engineering and optimizing IVF technology: e.g. embryo incubators and cryogenic vitrification) is expected to result in improving IVF- and related treatments and hardware on Earth.
Obstacles for space agencies
Research (supervised by NASA) explains that addressing the need for researching human reproduction in space is very difficult for leading organizations like NASA, ESA or SpaceX. Research efforts are obstructed by strong political and economic factors and require an independent and focused research entity. Involved researchers confirm that SpaceBorn United is well positioned to address the reproduction research effectively.
Our research includes monitoring developments relevant to our long term strategy. E.g. research groups enabling extended embryo development in artificial wombs, radiation shielding technology, enhancing DNA repair mechanisms, regulation and legislation, uncontrolled conceptions in space (space tourism risk), embryo health improvement, genome editing (CRISPR-Cas) technology, improving e.g. radiation resistance) and ethical debates and values.
The Earth is the cradle of humanity, but mankind cannot stay in the cradle forever
We translate our research results into mission concepts and a step by step missions program
We translated our research outcomes into a carefully designed roadmap of space missions. Each missions is established with the help of medical, technical, ethical and legal experts and provides key input for each subsequent missions.
Ground based testing procedures and validation missions (first using animal cells) are carefully designed to result in regulatory approval for each subsequent step in our roadmap.
Conception and embryo development
We have developed a prototype ‘space-embryo-incubator’ which is sent into space and contains male and female reproduction cells. The first validation missions contains mouse cells. In subsequent missions we plan to use human stem cell embryos and eventually human reproduction cells. Once in space (low Earth orbit) the embryos are conceived and start developing in an artificial Earth like gravity level. After 5-6 days the embryos are cryogenically frozen and the incubator returns to Earth where the embryos are examined. If embryos are approved to place back in the natural womb(s) the pregnancy period and birth will occur on Earth.
Childbirth in space
Our initial long term childbirth mission concept (‘Mission Cradle’) was a very productive study project that provided many valuable insights regarding childbirth in space. We also explored option for safely sending a pregnant woman into space for a very short missions. It has become clear with current and expected future technology there is no feasible approach to do this possible yet. The current view is that childbirth in space will only be possible when the mother will be in space much earlier and the time spent will thus be much longer. That will also require an adequate level of (artificial, rotational) gravity.
Humanity’s ambition to create human settlements in space requires a series of learning steps for how to safely reproduce in space. The first of these steps are covered in our ARTIS missions program. In the next decades we focus on the additional necessary steps like researching the conditions for increasing stages of pregnancy in space and conception and early embryo development on the Moon and in Lunar orbit.
We develop the biomedical equipment required for each mission in our missions program.
We initially focus on enabling conception and early embryo development in space. We therefore re-engineer existing IVF technology for application in space. Our technology is called ARTIS: assisted reproductive technology in space. Enabling IVF in space also improves IVF treatments and hardware on Earth.
Together with specialized suppliers, partnering research centers and our IVF experts we develop the ARTIS life support system. It provides adjustable artificial gravity to enable partial gravity research. This provides crucial data on what gravity levels are required for healthy (mammalian and human) embryo development.
First, prototypes are tested during validation missions, using animal cells. Our ARTIS research platform can also help study and select species that can thrive in the Martian gravity environment to help define a healthy Martian ecosystem.