Babies born on Mars may be quite unlike those born on Earth. Image Credit: NASA
An evolutionary biologist has outlined what is likely to happen when people start living full-time on Mars.
Imagine for a moment that mankind has not only achieved a successful manned landing on the Red Planet, but has also constructed a permanent, self-sufficient colony populated by hundreds of people.
In a recent interview with Inverse
, Prof Scott Solomon of Rice University, Texas talked about some of the changes and adaptations that humans living in such a colony may start to undergo.
"Evolution is faster or slower depending on how much of an advantage there is to having a certain mutation," he said. "If a mutation pops up for people living on Mars, and it gives them a 50-percent survival advantage, that's a huge advantage, right? And that means that those individuals are going to be passing those genes on at a much higher rate than they otherwise would have."
Martians could, for instance, develop stronger and denser bones to compensate for the lower gravity. They could also end up with a different skin tone to help protect against harmful radiation.
Living in cramped habitation modules could mean that nearsightedness becomes a more common trait, as could the ability to make more efficient use of the available oxygen.
Cut off from the bacteria and viruses found on Earth, the people of Mars may also end up with a weaker immune system that could make intimate encounters with visitors from Earth very risky.
Eventually, given enough time, Mars colonists may even become a whole new species.
Source: Tech Times | Comments (16)