Colonizing Mars has gone from science fiction to mainstream science in the past few years. If humans lived on Mars, how would they have sex there?
Why Discuss Sex On Mars?
With more planning for the eventual human exploration on Mars and the settlement on the red planet, humans will eventually have to reproduce there. Researchers from the United States, Poland, and Brazil are discussing potential issues with having sex on Mars.
Their findings were published in a study in June 2018 in the journal Futures.
"Unfortunately, such an endeavour comes with titanic challenges in various disciplines, from space travel technology to medical, biological, social and ethical challenges," the researchers wrote. "We assume that human reproduction in a Mars settlement will be necessary for the long-term success of an outer-space mission."
The researchers hypothesized that if humans were to successfully conceive and give birth in space, it could potentially be a new species because of all of the unique circumstances outside of Earth.
Challenges Of Reproducing On Mars
Although the researchers are optimistic about reproducing on Mars, there could be numerous challenges that might make sex nearly impossible.
The biggest challenge is with the gravity. Mars has roughly one-third the gravity of Earth, which could endanger the likelihood of getting pregnant. It is well-documented that prolonged time in space could alter a human's biological makeup and it could change the shape of a person's brain. This is how a new species might get created.
Lower gravity could lower a person's blood pressure, which is needed for engaging in sexual intercourse. Scientists also know that low gravity can cause vision problems and lead to a weakened immune system, which would be dangerous for pregnant women.
In addition to the lack of gravity, there are also other complications. There is more solar radiation on Mars, which would reduce a man's sperm count. More importantly, there is no documented evidence that a woman could have a full term pregnancy without any problems.
The researchers wrote that these challenges could increase "the risks of infection-induced abortions and facilitate the dissemination of diseases among pregnant and non-pregnant individuals."
Other Biological Considerations
In addition to the challenges of sex, the researchers believe that women and men on Mars might be paired up based on biological factors in order to conceive a child with certain traits that would work well on Mars. However, that child would likely have a difficult time trying to live a normal life on Earth.