Humans born on Mars

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Lazar
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Humans born on Mars

Postby Lazar » Thu Apr 08, 2010 7:30 pm UTC

Let's say that Mars is terraformed, and now has an earthlike atmosphere and climate, and that humans have established permanent settlements on it. What would be the physical/developmental consequences for humans born and raised there, in ~0.38 g?
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Re: Humans born on Mars

Postby xkcdfan » Thu Apr 08, 2010 7:53 pm UTC

-0.38 G? Wait, so Mars pushes people away from it?

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Re: Humans born on Mars

Postby Lazar » Thu Apr 08, 2010 7:57 pm UTC

~0.38 g, not -0.38 g. ~ means "about".
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Re: Humans born on Mars

Postby xkcdfan » Thu Apr 08, 2010 8:02 pm UTC

...oh, so it does. I had to increase the font size; for some reason, the ~ looks exactly like a - at the font size I'm viewing the post in.

Even if you scale it up! What is this madnesssss
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Re: Humans born on Mars

Postby Dave_Wise » Thu Apr 08, 2010 9:17 pm UTC

...anyway. Probably weak bones, less than normal muscle mass and possibly a weaker heart. Is that a problem though, unless you visit earth?
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Re: Humans born on Mars

Postby squareroot1 » Thu Apr 08, 2010 9:45 pm UTC

They would be weaker, with brittle bones and lots of cancer (since Mars lacks a magnetic field.)

Although, terraforming Mars would require increasing its atmospheric mass and possibly decreasing its effective radius, so its surface gravity would probably increase. I can't say if it would be an appreciable difference or not.

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Re: Humans born on Mars

Postby edgey » Thu Apr 08, 2010 9:48 pm UTC

Do you mean ~0.38g?

edit: Hahaha, it's a tilde when I type it, the board converts to a dash. What the hell?

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Re: Humans born on Mars

Postby Lazar » Thu Apr 08, 2010 9:49 pm UTC

Can this thread please stop being about tildes?
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Re: Humans born on Mars

Postby Technical Ben » Thu Apr 08, 2010 10:00 pm UTC

You just added to the tilde discussion!

Back on topic. I suppose having a weaker heart will mean normal activity could be harder, even in the lower gravity. You may have the strength, but not the endurance for extraneous tasks.
I think we will just get too fed up of the problems with Mars to ever terraform it. If you think of the technology needed, it could be used on Earth to make the poles hospitable, or the deserts, for much cheaper. So the commercial or economic pressure will on the resources and space left on earth first. Even building submerged colonies on Earth is going to be easier than those on Mars.
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Re: Humans born on Mars

Postby gmalivuk » Thu Apr 08, 2010 10:04 pm UTC

Lazar wrote:Can this thread please stop being about tildes?

Yes. Yes it can.
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Re: Humans born on Mars

Postby Dave_Wise » Thu Apr 08, 2010 10:11 pm UTC

So earth's magnetic field helps prevent cancer? Cool! How?

The thing with terraforming mars is that it's still going to go bye-byes when the sun turns into a red giant, and there's no resources there we couldn't get more easily from asteroids. Even fully terraformed, I'd also expect a lot of nutritional problems, since the parent rock would be different in composition, be it ever so slightly, from earth. I think.
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Re: Humans born on Mars

Postby nyeguy » Thu Apr 08, 2010 11:19 pm UTC

Dave_Wise wrote:So earth's magnetic field helps prevent cancer? Cool! How?

It protects us from solar radiation. As you probably know, radiation isn't so great for the whole not-having-cancer thing.

The thing with terraforming mars is that it's still going to go bye-byes when the sun turns into a red giant, and there's no resources there we couldn't get more easily from asteroids. Even fully terraformed, I'd also expect a lot of nutritional problems, since the parent rock would be different in composition, be it ever so slightly, from earth. I think.

But it would help alleviate a theoretical overpopulation on the Earth, and allow more humans to exist. Plus it would be cool! I can't imagine nutrition would be a problem. If we can terraform the entire planet, it should be trivial to bring with us the necessary plant and animal life to sustain us.
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Re: Humans born on Mars

Postby BlackSails » Thu Apr 08, 2010 11:32 pm UTC

It would probably be easier to terraform venus than mars. I think it would be easier to destroy atmosphere than make a new one (unless we are living under domes on mars.) Venus is also warmer and larger than mars.

The weaker gravity would cause (in the short term) brittle bones, some swelling and made some other wierd effects. Longer term, people would become taller and weaker.
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Re: Humans born on Mars

Postby gmalivuk » Thu Apr 08, 2010 11:33 pm UTC

In addition to not being about tildes, this thread is also, incidentally, not about the feasibility of terraforming Mars.
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Re: Humans born on Mars

Postby Coffee » Fri Apr 09, 2010 12:55 am UTC

Domed cities would probably be the best bet and could be designed to reduce or eliminate the radiation problem. Given the right precautions and care we could probably mitigate factors except for the lower gravity. There might be a way to reduce the impact of the lower gravity to human physiology but I can't think what.
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Re: Humans born on Mars

Postby Meteorswarm » Fri Apr 09, 2010 3:14 am UTC

I'm not sure that humans raised on Mars would have poorer Martian athletic performance than their terrestrial brethren - they'd be adapted to the local gravity, since bones and muscles respond dramatically to environmental stresses. So they could probably run just as quickly as they could on the Earth, assuming the gravity was enough for our usually mode of locomotion to work.

Of course, they'd probably have a lower overall power output, but their power requirements would likewise be lower.
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Re: Humans born on Mars

Postby JWalker » Fri Apr 09, 2010 3:37 am UTC

BlackSails wrote:It would probably be easier to terraform venus than mars. I think it would be easier to destroy atmosphere than make a new one (unless we are living under domes on mars.) Venus is also warmer and larger than mars.


It really would be much much harder to terraform venus. Mars has a decent atmosphere, it is just frozen in its polar ice caps.

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Re: Humans born on Mars

Postby letterX » Fri Apr 09, 2010 6:19 am UTC

Meteorswarm wrote:I'm not sure that humans raised on Mars would have poorer Martian athletic performance than their terrestrial brethren - they'd be adapted to the local gravity, since bones and muscles respond dramatically to environmental stresses. So they could probably run just as quickly as they could on the Earth, assuming the gravity was enough for our usually mode of locomotion to work.

Of course, they'd probably have a lower overall power output, but their power requirements would likewise be lower.


And then, if you took a normal earth human, and magically teleported him to Mars (like by, astral projection, say) then you would have this guy. All these problems were already figured out by pulp science fiction authors in 1913.

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Re: Humans born on Mars

Postby SlyReaper » Fri Apr 09, 2010 6:40 am UTC

Well your bones and muscles are very adaptable even in adulthood. Growing up on Mars would leave a person physically weaker than someone who grew up on Earth, but surely if the Martian went and visited Earth for an extended period of time, his strength would grow over time to be equal to his terrestrial counterpart? Sure, the first few days or weeks would be uncomfortable, but he would adapt.

Luckily this isn't SB, because I'm only guessing.
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Re: Humans born on Mars

Postby Linschn » Fri Apr 09, 2010 1:07 pm UTC

I just wanted to share with those of you interested the following link :
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Closed_ecological_system
The feasibility of a small-to-medium scale almost-completely closed ecological systems (i.e. what domes on Mars would be) is not a settled question yet.
I have no doubt that an increase in the scale would lead to an increase in stability, with the presence of buffers (like the ocean on earth for CO2).

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Re: Humans born on Mars

Postby NoodleIncident » Fri Apr 09, 2010 3:57 pm UTC

In Larry Niven's known space novels, people growing in a weaker gravity planet become taller and weaker. No clue if this is true, though. Mars was never settled in those novels, apart from a few dome bases that were killed by Martians. Apparently, there's nothing of interest there, it's a lot easier and more profitable to settle the asteroid belt.
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Re: Humans born on Mars

Postby Technical Ben » Fri Apr 09, 2010 5:16 pm UTC

As it's on topic :D
AFAIK the "taller in low gravity" thing is true. As we do loose some height through compression as we walk/move throughout the day. I heard that astronauts loose some height on re-entry. But not found any sources on it. :?
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Re: Humans born on Mars

Postby evilbeanfiend » Fri Apr 09, 2010 5:22 pm UTC

nyeguy wrote:
Dave_Wise wrote:So earth's magnetic field helps prevent cancer? Cool! How?

It protects us from solar radiation. As you probably know, radiation isn't so great for the whole not-having-cancer thing.


er isn't it actually the atmosphere itself that predominantly protects us from solar radiation? its also about 1.5 times as far from the sun so should be getting about 4/9ths of the radiation anyway
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Re: Humans born on Mars

Postby gmalivuk » Fri Apr 09, 2010 6:44 pm UTC

evilbeanfiend wrote:er isn't it actually the atmosphere itself that predominantly protects us from solar radiation?

er, not the charged particle kind.
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Re: Humans born on Mars

Postby Coffee » Fri Apr 09, 2010 7:59 pm UTC

Since the OP was about a terraformed Mars, and since a good magnetic field would (as far as I understand it anyways) be a prerequisite for holding onto a breathable atmosphere (as in not having the atmosphere stripped away by solar winds) I think it's safe to assume radiation would be no more of an issue than on Earth.
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Re: Humans born on Mars

Postby Meteorswarm » Fri Apr 09, 2010 11:31 pm UTC

gmalivuk wrote:
evilbeanfiend wrote:er isn't it actually the atmosphere itself that predominantly protects us from solar radiation?

er, not the charged particle kind.


Doesn't the atmosphere still work for this? It would still block charged particles, since it's got lots of mass to it.

Also, a magnetic field is only needed for long term atmosphere retention, so you wouldn't *need* it.
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Re: Humans born on Mars

Postby Shivahn » Sat Apr 10, 2010 2:24 am UTC

Meteorswarm wrote:
gmalivuk wrote:
evilbeanfiend wrote:er isn't it actually the atmosphere itself that predominantly protects us from solar radiation?

er, not the charged particle kind.


Doesn't the atmosphere still work for this? It would still block charged particles, since it's got lots of mass to it.

Also, a magnetic field is only needed for long term atmosphere retention, so you wouldn't *need* it.


I'm pretty sure it barely does anything to the kinds of particles coming from Sol. I mean, at the poles, the magnetosphere doesn't protect, and there are huge radiation risks being there.

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Re: Humans born on Mars

Postby evilbeanfiend » Sat Apr 10, 2010 12:22 pm UTC

Shivahn wrote: I mean, at the poles, the magnetosphere doesn't protect, and there are huge radiation risks being there.


got a reference for this? the only stuff I can find about radiation risk is about commercial airlines crew getting doses similar to those working in the nuclear industry, with a suggestion that they should fly a bit lower so the atmosphere absorbs more of the radiation, nothing about increased radiation at ground level, and certainly not huge levels. also not 100% sure about this but the magnetosphere may actually be a hindrance at the poles as afaik it actually funnels the charged particles which would have hit other places in its absence.
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Re: Humans born on Mars

Postby Antimony-120 » Sat Apr 10, 2010 6:29 pm UTC

The magnetosphere also disappears every once in awhile, most recently ~75 000 years ago IIRC. In any case, humans have existed on an earth with no magnetic shielding. We did fine.

In response to OP, there are several things that occur when people live in orbit for any length of time (which has no net force, so this is the dire version of your original question). Mostly muscle decrease, bone mass loss, heart weakening, that sort of thing. However it should be noted right and away that this does not translate into a loss of endurance as was suggested earlier. Yes the cardio system is weaker, but that is the effect of not needing to be as strong for the same endurance.

Lastly venus would be a bitch to transform. It's hot, highly pressurized, and corrosive. Mars needs some work done, but at least you can land there and not have your machinary break down within a few hours of arrival.
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Re: Humans born on Mars

Postby Dave_Wise » Sat Apr 10, 2010 8:02 pm UTC

I can't imagine nutrition would be a problem. If we can terraform the entire planet, it should be trivial to bring with us the necessary plant and animal life to sustain us.

Yes, but that's not the problem. You might get stuff like goitres because there wouldn't be enough of certain nutrients in those plants and animals. It happens even on mountainous regions of earth.
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Re: Humans born on Mars

Postby Lazar » Sat Apr 10, 2010 8:13 pm UTC

Dave_Wise wrote:Yes, but that's not the problem. You might get stuff like goitres because there wouldn't be enough of certain nutrients in those plants and animals. It happens even on mountainous regions of earth.

Well I imagine that vitamin supplements would be within the capabilities of this terraforming civilization. :wink:
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Re: Humans born on Mars

Postby Dave_Wise » Sat Apr 10, 2010 8:40 pm UTC

Yeah, fair enough. But you would have to keep taking the supplements or you'd get ill.
A lot depends on exactly how you intend to terraform mars.
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Re: Humans born on Mars

Postby Shivahn » Sat Apr 10, 2010 8:42 pm UTC

evilbeanfiend wrote:
Shivahn wrote: I mean, at the poles, the magnetosphere doesn't protect, and there are huge radiation risks being there.


got a reference for this? the only stuff I can find about radiation risk is about commercial airlines crew getting doses similar to those working in the nuclear industry, with a suggestion that they should fly a bit lower so the atmosphere absorbs more of the radiation, nothing about increased radiation at ground level, and certainly not huge levels. also not 100% sure about this but the magnetosphere may actually be a hindrance at the poles as afaik it actually funnels the charged particles which would have hit other places in its absence.


Well, yeah, that was what I was talking about. But I didn't realize that flying lower was a recommended solution.

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Re: Humans born on Mars

Postby Josephine » Sat Apr 10, 2010 9:52 pm UTC

Shivahn wrote:
evilbeanfiend wrote:
Shivahn wrote: I mean, at the poles, the magnetosphere doesn't protect, and there are huge radiation risks being there.


got a reference for this? the only stuff I can find about radiation risk is about commercial airlines crew getting doses similar to those working in the nuclear industry, with a suggestion that they should fly a bit lower so the atmosphere absorbs more of the radiation, nothing about increased radiation at ground level, and certainly not huge levels. also not 100% sure about this but the magnetosphere may actually be a hindrance at the poles as afaik it actually funnels the charged particles which would have hit other places in its absence.


Well, yeah, that was what I was talking about. But I didn't realize that flying lower was a recommended solution.

Flying lower means flying slower. Flying slower means more exposure time. I'd say fly higher and faster.
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Re: Humans born on Mars

Postby Meteorswarm » Sat Apr 10, 2010 9:56 pm UTC

nbonaparte wrote:
Shivahn wrote:
evilbeanfiend wrote:
Shivahn wrote: I mean, at the poles, the magnetosphere doesn't protect, and there are huge radiation risks being there.


got a reference for this? the only stuff I can find about radiation risk is about commercial airlines crew getting doses similar to those working in the nuclear industry, with a suggestion that they should fly a bit lower so the atmosphere absorbs more of the radiation, nothing about increased radiation at ground level, and certainly not huge levels. also not 100% sure about this but the magnetosphere may actually be a hindrance at the poles as afaik it actually funnels the charged particles which would have hit other places in its absence.


Well, yeah, that was what I was talking about. But I didn't realize that flying lower was a recommended solution.

Flying lower means flying slower. Flying slower means more exposure time. I'd say fly higher and faster.


The point, though, is that atmosphere blocks radiation.
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Re: Humans born on Mars

Postby Josephine » Sat Apr 10, 2010 10:03 pm UTC

Meteorswarm wrote:
nbonaparte wrote:
Shivahn wrote:
evilbeanfiend wrote:
Shivahn wrote: I mean, at the poles, the magnetosphere doesn't protect, and there are huge radiation risks being there.


got a reference for this? the only stuff I can find about radiation risk is about commercial airlines crew getting doses similar to those working in the nuclear industry, with a suggestion that they should fly a bit lower so the atmosphere absorbs more of the radiation, nothing about increased radiation at ground level, and certainly not huge levels. also not 100% sure about this but the magnetosphere may actually be a hindrance at the poles as afaik it actually funnels the charged particles which would have hit other places in its absence.


Well, yeah, that was what I was talking about. But I didn't realize that flying lower was a recommended solution.

Flying lower means flying slower. Flying slower means more exposure time. I'd say fly higher and faster.


The point, though, is that atmosphere blocks radiation.

but does the increased flight time counteract the benefit of flying lower?
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Re: Humans born on Mars

Postby Shokk » Sat Apr 10, 2010 11:42 pm UTC

First: Do we want this thread to be more of a discussion about the realistic-ness of terraforming and living on Mars or the theoretical consequences of living in an environment of lower gravity, that is otherwise ideally the same as our own? Because I feel as if the former isn't quite what the OP held at the heart of this thought experiment. I'm afraid we might be drifting away from the original topic. Please focus a little, fellas.

Antimony-120 wrote:In response to OP, there are several things that occur when people live in orbit for any length of time (which has no net force, so this is the dire version of your original question). Mostly muscle decrease, bone mass loss, heart weakening, that sort of thing. However it should be noted right and away that this does not translate into a loss of endurance as was suggested earlier. Yes the cardio system is weaker, but that is the effect of not needing to be as strong for the same endurance.

I don' t understand at all why this should be the case.
Shouldn't the human body be making the same amount of muscle and doing the same amount of things with proteins and the nutrients you give it, et cetera? So long as you're compensating for the stresses on it or the lack thereof, that is.
I mean, if I went about business as usual in these kind of conditions, the same way I did them on Earth, then I guess the weaker force of gravity would logically result in what you're describing after a while, to me and to my posterity.

BUT WHY THE HELL WOULD WE GO ABOUT BUSINESS AS USUAL WITH THIS KIND OF FREEDOM?
With this comparitively weak gravity, our means and members' abilities should be magnified, so long as we apply them to their greatest extent. (Which I suspect would be done, when you find that the force that let you jump 6 inches, and made you feel proud with just that, is now able to make you jump over a foot high! and make you fancy yourself a hero or a god.)
I mean...for every action..an equal and opposite reaction.
Why shouldn't people be able to retain the same level of fitness and strength on Mars that they already do on Earth?
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Re: Humans born on Mars

Postby Meteorswarm » Sun Apr 11, 2010 1:04 am UTC

nbonaparte wrote:
Meteorswarm wrote:The point, though, is that atmosphere blocks radiation.

but does the increased flight time counteract the benefit of flying lower?


This thread isn't about air travel. What is relevant to the thread is whether an Earth-like atmosphere would sufficiently block radiation in the absence of a magnetosphere in the short term. So far, I think the evidence points to yes, but a magnetosphere would help.

Could we build a big superconducting wire around the Martian equator and make our own magnetic field?

Shokk wrote:Why shouldn't people be able to retain the same level of fitness and strength on Mars that they already do on Earth?

You raise an interesting point - people involved in athletics would logically push themselves and probably achieve similar levels of fitness to Earthlings. However, the exercise people get going about their daily lives - sitting at offices, walking to the cafeteria, climbing stairs - would be diminished, so exercise would be more important if you wanted to interface with Earth gravity.

And you'd still have the bone problem because you wouldn't be increasing the strain on your bones that much, even during exercise.
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Re: Humans born on Mars

Postby xgpt » Sun Apr 11, 2010 1:29 am UTC

Meteorswarm wrote:I'm not sure that humans raised on Mars would have poorer Martian athletic performance than their terrestrial brethren - they'd be adapted to the local gravity, since bones and muscles respond dramatically to environmental stresses. So they could probably run just as quickly as they could on the Earth, assuming the gravity was enough for our usually mode of locomotion to work.

Of course, they'd probably have a lower overall power output, but their power requirements would likewise be lower.


Wouldn't an increase in exercise mitigate the risk?

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Re: Humans born on Mars

Postby Shokk » Sun Apr 11, 2010 1:57 am UTC

Meteorswarm wrote:
Shokk wrote:Why shouldn't people be able to retain the same level of fitness and strength on Mars that they already do on Earth?

You raise an interesting point - people involved in athletics would logically push themselves and probably achieve similar levels of fitness to Earthlings. However, the exercise people get going about their daily lives - sitting at offices, walking to the cafeteria, climbing stairs - would be diminished, so exercise would be more important if you wanted to interface with Earth gravity.

And you'd still have the bone problem because you wouldn't be increasing the strain on your bones that much, even during exercise.

Hmm, didn't know that would be how it would work, but I guess it makes sense, thinking about it. I just sort of assumed some stuff earlier...What precisely DOES contribute to the strain on the bones? This implies that gravity would have to factor in somewhere but I'm not sure where.

Anyway, how might that be addressed, then? Is there any possibility of loading the body with whatever the eff it uses in the whole bone-restrengthening process(I'm guessing Calcium but there's likely a lot more involved) and then just hoping that it gets used up?
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