Why Sex On Mars Might Result In A Whole New Species
The challenges of low gravity and an unromantic atmosphere
You might be thinking Earth is looking like a bit of a garbage planet to start a family on right now.
So understandably scientists are looking to other planets which we might be able to raise children on. To be honest, at this point there’s only one feasible option: Mars.
But there are some hurdles to overcome. And attempts to breed could result in colonists giving birth to an entirely new alien species.
While plans for a colony on Mars are gaining momentum, thanks to NASA, space agencies and independent scientists, they’re finding the biggest hurdle may not be creating sustainable sources of food or battling unfriendly conditions, but sex.
The authors of a paper in Futures suggested that challenges to reproducing on the red planet are many. Firstly there is the romance factor. Early colonists will be selected on their fitness for the journey and valuable specific skills to assist in survival. Sexual compatibility and love are likely to be well down the list.
And let’s face it, when you’re on another planet, it’s very difficult to make the Earth move.
Mars has just one-third of the gravity of Earth, which as well as making for unusual and probably awkward sexual encounters, could also create a range of difficult to combat health problems – in both settlers and their offspring.
Astronauts who have spent a long time in space have had a variety of biological changes, including deteriorating muscles, bone weakening, vision problems, and changes to the shape of their brains.
So how might that impact a foetus in utero? The paper suggests that it could create an entirely new sub-species of human – possibly better suited for the Martian environment.
Indeed, genetic editing may be necessary to increase prospects of survival, further pushing Martian babies into a somewhat alien realm.
That’s not even considering the challenge of a mother carrying a child to term in a microgravity environment. IF impregnation is even possible.
An earlier study has suggested that radioactive particles bombarding the spacecraft while en route to Mars could sterilise both men and women.
Hopefully science can overcome this. Mars is not renowned for its fertility clinics. And we’ve finally worked out a way to breed terrifying Martian aliens – the answer is within us.