Will it be possible to have babies on Mars?
illustration of a family on a planet
From the day humans have step foot on the moon, we have always craved for more exploration of space. As the technology is becoming more superior and reliable we have been planning for decades to go on the Red planet. A trip to the Mars is a tricky journey. Mars is almost on an average 225 million Kms away from earth.
Colonising extraterrestrial planets have remained in science fiction for decades. But now NASA is planning to make it happen. The first step towards it to take a step to go on Mars. But as we proceed on setting colonies of humans on other planets, the problem arises will we ever be able to reproduce ourselves? Will it be possible to have babies in those environment?
It may happen in almost half century from now, we will be able to set up colonies in space and could be living on the red planet building habitats. But as of now no one really knows if humans can successfully reproduce in space during spaceflights or on another planets. Because having sex in lower gravity or zero gravity is a kind of Physics Problem.
Space agencies have been trying this experiment on Mices, Rats, Frogs etc.But the results so far we have received are mixed and inconclusive.
“All our Big tech gurus out there who want us to be Multiplanetary Civilization- this is the key no one has answered yet,”says Baylor College of Medicine Physician Kris Lehnhardt, who specialises in Space Medicine.
Effect of GRAVITY
We as species on earth have evolved on earth by a certain environment conditions. But in Space gravity is almost Nonexistent. Mars have 38 percent strength of earth gravitational pull. So far we haven’t be able to figure out how lesser gravity will affect our reproduction.
Due to Mars low gravity, and weaker Magnetic field around the planet more harmful radiation is present in Mars atmosphere. High radiation doses are a serious threat for space travellers. The effects of these two things – Radiation and Gravity- so far are the major concerns scientists are trying to figure out.
Experiments done by Soviets in the late 70s included sending several rats into orbits. When they returned, there were evidences that they had mate but none of the females were delivered. In an anothet experiment by NASA they found rat pups exposed to microgravity develop abnormal vestibular systems and in sensing movement direction and orientation.
Spaceflights have also resulted in decreasing total rat sperm count while increasing abnormalities. Scientists are looking to send fertilized embryos to the ISS and look how the space affects the development, DNA damage, and repair. There is need of many experiments to be done by the Scientists before actually considering it.
Scientists can also send human sperm and eggs to International Space Station and attempt in virto fertilization to see if it would even work and then can compare how many embryos were developed compared to controls on earth.
Human reproduction in space is a long way to go, but we must find answer to the arising problems if we want to put colonies in space. As Kris Lehnhardt of Baylor college of Medicine had said,”Everyone is focused on the hardware and the hardware is great but in the end its the squishy meat- sack that messes everything up.