Future Martians. Let that sink in for just a moment.
How crazy does it sound? People. Doing people things. On another planet. Wouldn't that be a living proof of our great trek into the cosmos? That would be the moment of truth for the entire history of our species. Can we survive this test and give birth to a healthy baby on the Red Planet?
You might be wondering what will go through the Mars Generation's minds as they grow up on this new planet. Well, first of all, we would be living in igloo like structures, hopefully. That means they would have a domed view of the world around them, where anything outside the dome is considered dangerous. To exit the domes to explore, you’d have to be in a certain profession and doing work on the outside.
To a baby growing up, this is a shocking new way of viewing the world, especially when the people raising the baby use Earth as a reference point. Everything is sacred, everything is sustainable, everyone working towards a common goal. There are terraforming projects going on everywhere and fellow Martians elsewhere that you can travel to go and see. There’s also another planet nearby which is where humanity originated from. “What the fuck?” the Martian child will no doubt be thinking.
But they get used to it, they live on the planet. They go to school. They have classmates. They have chores. They will even learn everything there is to learn about the planet. They will start calling it home. Earth just becomes another planet, even if it’s an important one.
I have recently come across a Kickstarter of this amazing project, Generation One: Children of Mars, which is a comic book about the first Martian generation born on the planet. Such a project is great for portraying what life growing up might look like and gives a bit of relatability for us to connect with. From the description:
“In 2051 AD, when a war between the United States and China plunges two peaceful Martian colonies into a miniature cold war, it's up to the first generation of children born on Mars to restore peace to their planet and set a positive example for Earth.”
The thing about babies, they can adapt to whatever situation you place them in, be it on Earth, Luna, or Mars, 300 years ago or 300 years into the future, which Tim Urban of Wait But Why goes over in great details in his awesome new post about Musk’s Neuralink. What would be important to witness in the Martian children’s years growing up is how gravity will affect them and how would their bodies adapt to this.
Here’s where things get interesting, where a person’s childhood is spent growing up on Mars, not knowing any other world but the Red. It would be reasonable to expect that they can potentially grow taller in height due to living in a reduced gravity environment where there are a lot of unknown what-if scenarios that we may have not accounted for.
If there is any indication, we can take into account astronaut heights when they stay long in the International Space Station. The results indicate that astronauts do in fact grow taller in microgravity environments.
They return back to the their normal height when back on Earth, but there are potential side effects. This indicates that there might be a slight height change on Mars in its future children. It’s a hypothesis worth considering.
We, as in we Terran Humans, have been experiencing the effects of 1G gravity all our lives. However, if we have grown up in lower gravity environments and have never been exposed to 1G during childhood and growing up, then returning back to Earth might simply not be possible.
NASA points out that astronauts grow 2 inches longer when in space due to reduced gravity because the fluid between vertebrae to expand. However, that height is lost within 10 days of returning to Earth’s gravity. What’s interesting is that due to this growth, NASA’s spacesuit have extra room in them to accommodate the extra height.
Dr. Robert Zubrin, a Mars settlement proponent and founder of The Mars Society, has theorized that due to the gravitational pull of Mars being ⅓ of Earth’s, children born on Mars would grow taller by a few inches more than their Earth cousins. Genetically, they wouldn’t be different that their parents, but their spine would grow longer than on Earth. On the plus side, Martian babies growing up on the Red planet would not suffer from muscle mass and bone problems that long flight astronauts do.
The problem, however, occurs when your Martian kids one day say “Hey, Mom and Dad. A bunch of friends and I are planning to take a trip to Earth after high school graduation. Can I borrow some money?”
Putting aside the fact the such a journey maybe pricey on your humble Martian household, the real danger lies in Martian or low-gravity born children wanting to visit Earth. The 1 gravity of Earth would be too strong on them, since they’d feel its effect as 3G gravity of what they’re used to on Mars. If you’re a college student born and raised on Luna, then taking an exchange program for a semester on Earth (or down the gravity well, as they might say in the future) would be deadly. You’re better off going to Mars instead for that exchange.
On the SyFy show The Expanse (If you haven’t started watching this show, then stop everything you’re doing in life and start watching it! I plan on reviewing the first two seasons in the near future), Sergeant Bobbie Draper of the Martian Marine Corps has to visit Earth along with her fellow comrades.
Without giving any spoilers away, she, a Martian born and raised on Mars, never visiting Earth in her life, and first stepping foot on the plan, begin to see the effects of Earth have on her people. For one thing, since the Earth’s gravity is super strong on the Martian body, causing shunts in the body and resulting in the blood not receiving enough oxygen. There’s medication to counter that for the Martian, which helps them stabilize. No such medication like that exists currently since we don’t have that problem (yet).
The lower gravity childhood means less dense bones, so walking on Earth will result in muscle fatigue for your average Martian. They will just feel weighed down, which can be very intense. What’s also interesting is the sunglasses worn by the Martians in The Expanse visiting Earth. Since Mars is 1.5 times further away from the Sun compared to Earth (being the fourth planet orbiting the sun), they will receive less light than Earth does.
Imagine this. That gloomy, cloudy day that you whine about on Earth as the main reason why you don’t want to go out is considered a wonderful day on Mars. So, in that respect, imagine how a great sunny day on Earth seems like to a Martian. Super. Bright. Lights. It’s more than a Martian can handle without using a protection like sunglasses when on Earth.
Other qualities that a second-generation Martian would have would be in their work ethics. To live on a planet where there is no atmosphere and the radiation would kill you, where water is super scarce and you eat based on what you can grow or whatever was sent to you to eat here from back on Earth, you develop a higher value on things.
You learn that the only way that you can succeed on this planet is to get off your ass and work. Nothing is given to you, but when you give in to help Mars as a society, you grow with it. You know the terraformation projects will make Mars breathable one day, maybe a day when you’re alive, but you’re ok if you’re not alive by then. You will help Mars, regardless. It’s your home planet.
Living in such a world also unites all it’s inhabitants to continue pushing on to improve the condition of Mars and bring Mother Nature back to life.
Now, the crappy part about growing up on Mars is all that damn radiation. Jeez. It’s like the Universe is out there to get you, and all you wanna do is just ride ATVs with your buddies on the Red dunes out there. But solar flares, really bad types of radiation, can really harm Martians who are outside. Usually you have a 20 minute warning before a solar flare, but what if you are far away from cover? The intensity of the solar flare can really cause intense nausea, which in the worst case scenario, might force you to throw up in your “outer-dome” suit. Then, you’re really screwed.
But, by then, you’d hope we have material for our suit so strong that it can resist the toughest of radiation. Let’s also hope it’s Mark Watney-esque and less like this. (Am I the only one who thinks we can improve more on the TRON suits in terms of design?)
I just think the first version of the TRON suit looked better. Not a huge fan of the gray color. I prefer something darker, or perhaps something like what Boeing had in mind.
Now that’s a freaking space suit. Anyways, moving on.
One other bad situation future Martian children might face is vision impairments, as shown with a few astronauts who stayed in space more than six months. No one knows why, but they have a few hypothesis they are exploring. Microgravity seems like the likely factor, so it’ll be interesting to see how the vision of Martian children gets affected as they’re growing up. My personal hunch is because they’re growing up in the lower Martian gravity from the second they’re born, their bodies will adapt in new ways to the environment. Vision will adapt as well.
What other things would they have to experience as they grow up on Mars? Their access to a purely Earth dominated internet might shed some light on the world they don’t experience and really can’t at the moment. The delays in communication with Earth means that as children, they’re less likely interested in communicating as much with people on Earth and would rather spend more time together with their peers and focus more on Mars.
They would be more interested in Martian social media and Internet, because it is more relevant and faster communication time. But, even then, there wouldn’t be a lot of content for them to consume since the society is still in its early stages. So what happens? Boredom, more or less. One that the society will help them deal with by keeping them busy and hardworking, making them as a generation, way more talented and determined than their Earth counterparts.
The average Martian then will become very highly skilled with many things. The Martian children of the future will focus on what matters, terraforming. In their focus they will help us push forward as a species that has successfully cloned humanity into a smaller version of itself on a new planet that is inhospitable to life. There's hope for our entire species by then. Good job, humanity.
Part V of The Martian Sex Journal
From the perspective of the dreamers of Mars, if we can’t even colonize the Red Planet, then this whole experiment is jeopardized. If humans can’t inhabit the cosmos, then we are literally stuck to Earth and its problems and warfare.
Part IV of The Martian Sex Journal
This is where the irony of living on Mars with the dreams of terraforming it lies in the eyes of this tourist Martian visiting and experiencing Earth for the first time. The Martian’s forefathers left this very planet to settle and colonize Mars and terraform it be like Earth, even though they left Earth because they didn’t want to live there to begin with.
Part II of The Martian Sex Journal
The topic of sex and procreation in lower- and micro-gravity and giving birth to a child has become an important topic in life sciences. Being able to successfully live in those conditions and give birth to healthy babies that will be second-generation colonists capable of carrying the torch is the most essential task of going out and venturing into the final frontier.
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