Space News
space history and artifacts articles

space history discussion forums

worldwide astronaut appearances

selected space history documents

  collectSPACE: Messages
  Patches & Pins
  Sperm/Shuttle to Mir (Homer Simpson) patch

Post New Topic  Post A Reply
profile | register | preferences | faq | search

next newest topic | next oldest topic
Author Topic:   Sperm/Shuttle to Mir (Homer Simpson) patch

Posts: 2454
From: U.K.
Registered: Jul 2009

posted 09-18-2011 04:19 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for moorouge   Click Here to Email moorouge     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I'm trying to track down an investigators' patch for an experiment flown on the Shuttle. April Ronca studied mammalian pregnancy and birth in zero-G at NASA Ames. Her experiment launched pregnant rats on a Shuttle mission, the rats giving birth about two days after the Shuttle landed.

As with many other investigators, Ronca designed a mission patch. The original depicted a pregnant Shuttle surrounded by baby Shuttles. This was vetoed by NASA! (I wonder why?) The patch that flew (?) was a Homer Simpson "Sperm in Space", showing a sperm tail with Homer's head on it. It seems that permission to use Homer was granted because the wife of one of the investigators had family ties with the Simpson's creator.

Has anyone seen this patch? If so, could you post a pic of it?

Robert Pearlman

Posts: 42984
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 09-18-2011 05:04 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I'm guessing you have been reading Mary Roach's "Packing for Mars," which quotes Ronca and describes both patches in a footnote.

Ronca's pregnant shuttle patch and the Homer Simpson patch were for different experiments (Ronca was not involved in the latter).

Dr. Joseph Tash, whose experiment to test the movement of sperm flew on STS-81 and STS-84, was responsible for the Homer Simpson patch. His brother, Max Tash, was married to Simpsons' creator Matt Groening's wife's sister.


Posts: 265
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Oct 2004

posted 09-18-2011 07:09 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for James913   Click Here to Email James913     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I haven't seen a patch, but the pregnant shuttle design was made into stickers and buttons...


Posts: 403
From: Hilversum, The Netherlands
Registered: Oct 2003

posted 09-19-2011 04:03 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for lucspace   Click Here to Email lucspace     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Turns up quickly in a Google images search.


Posts: 2454
From: U.K.
Registered: Jul 2009

posted 09-20-2011 05:49 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for moorouge   Click Here to Email moorouge     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Just for information. April Ronca conducted the experiment with pregnant rats in June 1995 in association with Jeff Alberts. This was, in fact, a repeat of a previous experiment launched in 1983 by the Russians.

It seems that the American rats fared better than their Russian counterparts who arrived back somewhat thinner than expected. Both sets gave birth to normal offspring though it was noted that the newborn had no sense of balance and took about a week to recover.


Posts: 583
From: Bothell, WA
Registered: Jan 2013

posted 04-05-2018 11:33 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Liembo   Click Here to Email Liembo     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Recently launched SpaceX Dragon CRS-14 contained another SPERM experiment onboard.
Tash is researching the effects microgravity has on human reproduction, specifically what extended time spent in outer space will do to the functionality of sperm. To that end, Tash will soon be sending frozen samples of human and bull sperm aboard SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket to the International Space Station in hopes of finding out if humans will be able to reproduce in space, which could prove to be vital.
The patch, again, features Homer Simpson.

All times are CT (US)

next newest topic | next oldest topic

Administrative Options: Close Topic | Archive/Move | Delete Topic
Post New Topic  Post A Reply
Hop to:

Contact Us | The Source for Space History & Artifacts

Copyright 2020 All rights reserved.

Ultimate Bulletin Board 5.47a