Having sex on Mars could lead to a new human subspecies, an international team of scientists theorized in a new paper published in the journal Futures.
The paper found many problems with potential reproduction on Mars, the biggest being the low-gravity environment, which is about a third of Earth’s, the New York Post reported. Astronauts who have spent months or years in space have found muscles deteriorate rapidly and bone structure can be weakened without Earth’s heavier gravity.
While scientists have studied the impacts of low gravity on adult astronauts, they have never studied pregnant women or children before and don’t even know if it’s possible to carry a baby to term in low gravity.
Researchers from Poland, Brazil, and Florida contributed to the paper, noting that it may be important to reproduce on Mars to sustain a colony there.
“A manned mission to Mars and the establishment of the first human settlement in outer spece was once a mere figment of science fiction, but is now being planned and expected to take place in the following 20 years,” the scientists wrote, The Sun reported.
Other potential problems with sex and reproduction on Mars include possible low sperm counts from increased radiation, a weakened immune response from lower gravity, and even erectile dysfunction from low blood pressure often experienced in low gravity conditions, The Sun reported.
Genetic engineering could resolve some of the issues surrounding sex and reproduction off-planet, but may render the offspring created incapable of life on Earth, the scientists theorized.
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