How Will The Human Species Evolve On Mars?

We have all grown up learning about Mars as the fourth planet in the Solar System, right after our home planet Earth. It’s baffling to imagine that SpaceX, with the leadership of Elon Musk, may get the first human colonizers on the red planet as soon as 2024. Will the homo sapiens of Earth evolve to become another species on Mars? Short answer: probably!

Surface Gravity On Mars Is About 38% Of Earth’s

Imagine humans moving to Mars. Even if we could tackle the lack of sufficient oxygen there’s this one factor that we probably won’t be able to manage with technology and that’s low gravity. We will weigh less than we do here on Earth due to the weaker gravity on Mars. This will reduce the stress on our bones and we will react to this by slowly breaking down the calcium in them, thus reducing their density. You can dive deeper into the subject in this article by NASA Science.

Humans Will Have To Exercise To Prevent Losing Weight

That may sound strange from an Earthling’s perspective, but it’ll be true for people living on Mars. The impact of lower gravity will not stop at making our bones thinner. Over hundreds of years, we may become weaker versions of humans back on Earth. This is apparent as we will have to put less effort to move about due to the reduced gravitational pull on Mars, which will have to be compensated for with tons of exercise.

Related: Five Great Women of Computer Science and Technology

A picture of planet Mars.

Future Martians May Become Orange 🥕

Leaves get their characteristic colour green from chlorophyll and in the same way, carrots and pumpkins get their characteristic orange colour from carotenoids. Studies have shown that carotenoids can help to defend against higher levels of radiation. The average Martian will receive 5000 times more radiation than someone on Earth. Consuming carrots in large amounts will protect us to some extent by boosting the carotene levels in our bloodstream and under our skin. But yeah, this may as well, over the years, turn our skin orange!

Humans Will Evolve Much Faster On Mars

This brings us to the million-dollar question – will future Martians turn out to be a different species compared to Earthlings? On Earth, we Homo Sapiens take about a hundred thousand years to evolve. According to some scientists, the higher levels of radiation on Mars will mutate the DNA in our cells accelerating the pace of evolution. This will result in new human species in a matter of a few centuries.

So yeah, moving to Mars is risky and deadly, but that doesn’t stop Elon Musk from the same. As he puts it, “There are lots of people that climb mountains. You know, why do they climb mountains? Because people die on Mount Everest all the time. They like doing it for the challenge.”

You can watch the full interview here: