Do people need to upgrade their body to survive on Mars?

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2017-03-20 16:00:13

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Do people need to upgrade their body to survive on Mars? Source:

To Live and dig in the space — especially on Mars — that for many years attracts our kind. Recently, SpaceX founder Elon Musk decided to put a very large sum of money to colonize the Red planet. NASA also likes to boast of his upcoming journey to Mars, scheduled for 2030 years, and several celebrities, billionaires and even States plan to some extent to settle on the red planet.

But there is a big difference between leaving a few footprints, and in order to establish a long-term database on another planet. As for human colonization of Mars, there are many issues — in particular, how people will live, physically and psychologically, in such harsh conditions? In an article published recently in the journal Space Policy, Conrad, Sotik, a cognitive scientist from the University of information technology and management in Rzeszow, Poland, argued that sending astronauts to the ISS is not adequate training for life on Mars. In fact, Sotik assumes that people will be very hard to change your body to physically and psychologically to maintain a Mars colony.

Other enthusiasts on Mars, including Elon musk, did not agree.

"My idea is that the body and the human mind adapted to life in terrestrial environment," says Cozik. "Consequently, certain physiological and psychological problems during the trip, and then during life on Mars will probably be too difficult for human survival. For example, we have to take into account the high risk of heart problems during this mission and a complete lack of proper medical support."

In his article, Sotik explores some preventive therapies that other researchers have suggested that the astronauts, before heading to Mars. He notes that some have suggested "to put the crew into a coma Wednesday before the trip," which can reduce energy requirements, prevent muscle atrophy and to provide additional protection from radiation in deep space, and even "to remove the Appendix to avoid greater dangers".

In 2012, researchers from the National Institute of health (NIH) have listed potential risks and benefits of carrying out appendectomy and cholecystectomy — removal of the Appendix and gall bladder, respectively — before sending astronauts on a long space flight. The logic is simple: if anyone swell the Appendix or gallbladder or in space, the operation will be not just dangerous — impossible.

Sotic also claims to be the first sent to the Red planet, the mission may suffer serious psychological burden. Although the first colonisers are likely to be taken very serious by psychologists, the pressure isolation in an unfamiliar environment is a powerful threat. And yet, the first results of experiments on NASA HI-SEAS, which , by creating conditions for living of a small group of "astronauts" under the dome of a volcano Mauna Loa in Hawaii, is very promising. Not long ago, the crew spent a year in this pseudonarcissus surroundings and were quite pleased, despite the powerful blend of their characters and tastes.

"Yes, psychological problems do cause concern," says mark Shelhamer, former chief NASA scientist for the research program people. "In this sense, the ISS is not the best platform to simulate a Mars mission. ISS is isolated and limited (though not so as to be limited Martian spacecraft). But the crews are replaced, so new faces appear every three months, and the structure is properly supported (astronauts can chat with friends, family, doctors and psychologists on the Ground without any delay in time).

In General, Sotik argues that no earthly training will not provide all that is needed for survival on Mars in the long term.

"Think of one medicine would not require any permanent decisions, genetic or surgical," he says, adding that we have to resort to the idea of transhumanism — the use of science and technology to improve man so that he could survive in different conditions.

This concept is not new: futurists have been suggesting humanity to use biology, nanotechnology, information technology and cognitive science to make us more attuned to life in space. But although the acceleration of our own biological evolution to increase our chances of survival on Mars, admittedly, sounds interesting and exciting, not all are convinced that it is possible, ethical or necessary.

"People now propose to choose astronauts by genetic predisposition to such things as resistance to radiation", says Shelhamer. "Of course, this idea is fraught with problems. First, it is illegal to make a decision about employment based on genetic information. Secondly, when performing such manipulations usually have unintended consequences, and who knows what could get worse if we begin to choose what, in our opinion, should be improved".

Although he admits the idea of Socica interesting, according to Shelhamer, they would be superfluous in the end. "I think we can give astronauts the tools — physical, mental, and operational — that they, individually and in groups, held firmly in front of the face of the unknown," he says. "That's what I'm working on, but so far only in the beginning. What kind of person will thrive in extreme conditions? How to build a mission to help this man? It should be considered systematically".

Future President of Mars Elon Musk was even sharper when he was asked to comment on the idea that people have to change their biology to survive on Mars. He called the premise "ridiculous". "To be in deep space or in Earth orbit for long periods is much worse than on Mars," said Musk. "But buzz Aldrin still feels good as the other astronauts".

Even if the optimists are right and we don't need to change myself so that remains another important issue on the subject of colonization: how are we going to play? Although on the surface of Mars is not as bad as in deep space, the surface of Mars emits intense radiation, because its atmosphere is much thinner than Earth, and no global magnetic field, deflecting the energy of a particle. This is especially true of women who want to get pregnant, because even small doses of ionizing radiation can have a serious impact on the development of a fetus. In all likelihood, long-term settlement will have to build up under the surface planet, in order to protect the old, young and pregnant from energetic particles from the sun and galactic cosmic rays.

"We don't know how the reduced gravity and radiation affect the process of reproduction of the human," says Cozik. "We can assume that this impact can be harmful."

And adds that to maintain a colony, which can exist without inbreeding, we have to send many people to Mars, that might be a problem. So he offers "to take into account the possibility of human cloning or other similar methods" to save the colony.

Well, it seems that the resettlement of people on several planets will be exciting. And terrible.

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