Sex on Mars: could generate “a new type of human species”

By , in Science on .

Of all the “titanic challenges” that the colonization of Mars will suppose for humans, the reproduction may be the greatest of all. However, if humanity manages to overcome it, this will lead to the creation of “a new kind of species,” says an international group of scientists in an article published in the journal Futures.
The document describes some of the main problems associated with reproduction on Mars, such as the risk of chronic exposure to radiation, which has a harmful effect on adults and, especially, on reproductive cells, on the development of embryos and fetuses. Another challenge would be reduced gravity, whose impact on the production of reproductive cells, the success rate of fertilization or embryonic development is still unknown.
In addition, the concept of reproduction in a colony on Mars entails a series of moral and ethical challenges -related to the value of human life or abortions, among others- that can not be fully evaluated before the mission begins.
Genetic improvement as a solution
In this context, the researchers suggest the idea of ​​a human genetic improvement before and during the mission, which could facilitate reproduction on Mars, although this would require “overcoming ethical challenges,” they warn.
This process would lead to “a new type of human species that will possess a new nature and, consequently, possibly new moral rights and duties in comparison with the people who live on Earth,” the scientists assert.
“Life on Mars will be different from our life on Earth, and so will the reproduction that generates it,” the authors of the article conclude.