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Space & Astronomy

Humans on Mars could become a new species

May 22, 2019 | Comment icon 16 comments



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)


Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #7 Posted by pallidin 3 years ago
True.
Comment icon #8 Posted by Silver_Raven 3 years ago
Considering this already happens on Earth, a species adapting to a new environment, it kind of seemed obvious. The same thing would happen if humans started living in space stations/ships or in under water colonies.
Comment icon #9 Posted by freetoroam 3 years ago
I would have thought they would have to be protected from this in the first place or they either all die or obviously, the children will be born disformed or may not survive at all. A human skin tone can not protect them against harmful radiation.
Comment icon #10 Posted by Susanc241 3 years ago
Why would you develop stronger and denser bones under low gravity? That doesn't seem to be necessary and goes against observations from year long stays in the space station. Bones would get weaker, That was going to be my question too but you beat me to it.
Comment icon #11 Posted by tmcom 3 years ago
  Not true, l wish people would stop going to NASA, and do a little more research, Mars has a strong magnetic field in places on the surface, so if they land in the right area, then protection from the sun, (which is 20% smaller than on earth) would pose no problems. You don't need a molten, iron spinning core like earth to have a magnetic field, just a hell of a lot of rare earth or mars magnetic deposits in one area. Mars mountains dwarf ours in height and if one has substantial amounts of strong magnetic material then we are set. I have recently seen raw pebbles with rare earth like propert... [More]
Comment icon #12 Posted by mdbuilder 3 years ago
It better happen before we go. It would take a different species to live on Mars. We are not designed for a sequestered existence.
Comment icon #13 Posted by tmcom 3 years ago
True, we would mutate on Mars, ask Schwarzenegger.
Comment icon #14 Posted by Kenemet 3 years ago
Lunatic
Comment icon #15 Posted by Jon the frog 3 years ago
Kid raised on a world with less gravity would probably be not build strong enough to survive well on earth... and without any genetic change. 
Comment icon #16 Posted by fred_mc 3 years ago
I think this is probably only true if those with less advantageous genes are not able to reproduce as much as those with more advantageous genes. However, we humans have pretty advanced healthcare and we care about people with diseases so I think that won't happen, also those with genes less advantageous for living on Mars will spread their genes on to the next generation.


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