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Mandy Fisher

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The colonization of Mars vs. solving the problems at home

I am a space advocate and sci fi junkie. I look at the night sky like a teenage boy peeks at Playboy. The curiosity and wonder within me burns as red as that elusive rocky world next door.... And now, in this glorious age of technology, the dreams of Kim Stanley Robinson and geeks world round is finally becomming a reality. The colonization of Mars is just around the corner, and although many are thrilled, some are hesitant and even sour about the prospect. An argument aganist a human-occupied Mars is based on the belief that Earth has far too many problems, that are far more urgent and necessary to address, then the satisfication of curious scientists and hopeful investors. So, what do you think? Shall humanity step beyond our watery world and onto a rusty alien desert, or should we focus our efforts on Earth and find solutions to our dire issues before considering such a endeavor?

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    Aug 4 2013: One thing that stands in the way of Mars colonization is the low gravity problem.
    A child born and raised on Mars can never return to earth. An adult who travels there, lives of a couple of years and returns to earth may also not be able to live under earth gravity.

    The fact Mars is bathed in radiation levels from the sun and other stars that humans cannot endure is another problem.

    The problem is even worse on the moon.

    According to this Wikipedia article: "Humans are physiologically well-adapted to life on Earth. Consequently, spaceflight has many negative effects on the body. The most significant adverse effects of long-term weightlessness are muscle atrophy and deterioration of the skeleton (spaceflight osteopenia).[1] Other significant effects include a slowing of cardiovascular system functions, decreased production of red blood cells, balance disorders, and a weakening of the immune system. Lesser symptoms include fluid redistribution (causing the "moon-face" appearance typical in pictures of astronauts experiencing weightlessness),[2][3] loss of body mass, nasal congestion, sleep disturbance, and excess flatulence. Most of these effects begin to reverse quickly upon return to Earth..."

    Not good news for would be space travellers.

    This wiki article goes into good detail about the effects of space travel on the human condition. It's a must read for would be space travellers: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Effect_of_spaceflight_on_the_human_body
    • Aug 8 2013: Radiation could be solved by being underground. Of course, you have to shield against the radiation on the way there too!

      Gravity... I agree, it is a one way trip. Exercise would be key to keeping some of the bone density lost but it would never replace Earth's gravity. But imagine the sports!
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        Aug 9 2013: Sports...... I think you are on to something there :)

        Yes, Increased activity due to lower gravity might have an effect on a human population. Perhaps the evolutionary process might be reenacted within our bodies.

        But, returning to earth would still present the same problem, would their bodies be able to stand up to the increased gravity? Could they adjust? Would people born on Mars, or the moon ever be able to return to earth?

        This brings up a question as to why aliens have not visited us. What if the gravity on their planets were lower than on ours? Physical contact would not be possible. We would only have to meet them in space. If they had mastered artificial gravity, we might be perceived as a stronger more agile species (alien vs. Klignon like earth people) in their normal environment. That might present a problem for them, considering our normal violence prone attitude.

        I guess in the normal, galactic, scheme of things, we are the Klingons.

        Look at the problems we would have if we decided to do some mining operations on Neptune, which has a gravity influence of 1.12 times earth gravity. Jupiter with 2.26 times earth gravity is out of the question. Or, look at the problems associated with trying to maintain a sense of normalcy in an environment where you are constantly accelerating at 1. 5 times earth gravity. Is it even possible?

        A normal 165lb human being would weigh 248 lbs on Neptune. Imagine trying to crawl up a ladder. The more you weight the less work you can do after about 80 Kgs.
        Also, consider the metabolism. A normal 75 kg human produces about 80-100 watts of energy just standing still. Increase your activity and you increase your energy production.

        A small green skinned alien weighing only 40 kg would be crushed by earths gravity is their home planet had our moon's gravity (.25 earths gravity). They couldn't even stand up here, hence, the reason they don't visit us. :)

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