Across the Universe?

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AuthorTopic: Across the Universe?
Electric Sheep One
Member # 3431
Profile #25
What would be the problem with fetal development? A fetus is small and lives in fluid, where it tumbles around a lot. So neither orientation nor structural stress seems to be an issue.

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We're not doing cool. We're doing pretty.
Posts: 3335 | Registered: Thursday, September 4 2003 07:00
Law Bringer
Member # 6785
Profile #26
Probably bone developement since low gravity would lead to weaker bones and a fetus wouldn't be able to exercise like an adult to compensate.
Posts: 4643 | Registered: Friday, February 10 2006 08:00
Skip to My Lou
Member # 40
Profile Homepage #27
But if we're living in lower gravity, do we necessarily need that bone mass? Why not end up as a bunch of gelatinous blobs? Couldn't we come up with technology to compensate?

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Posts: 1629 | Registered: Wednesday, October 3 2001 07:00
Electric Sheep One
Member # 3431
Profile #28
In the first place fetuses growing on Earth aren't exactly getting a lot of weight-bearing exercise, so I don't expect their bones would develop all that differently on Mars. Fetuses do kick around a fair amount (once they're big enough that it would be silly not to call them babies), and maybe they need to train against this resistance; but this is about inertial mass, not weight, and that doesn't change on Mars.

Once born, people growing up on Mars would indeed probably grow differently. Kim Stanley Robinson envisaged them all growing very tall and slight. But this wouldn't mean that people couldn't live on Mars; just that it would be tough for someone raised on Mars to visit Earth.

On the other hand, there's this essential difference between Mars's weak gravity and the microgravity of orbit or interplanetary space. You don't need to build a centrifuge on Mars to raise your weight to what you're used too.

You just need to wear lead.

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Posts: 3335 | Registered: Thursday, September 4 2003 07:00
...b10010b...
Member # 869
Profile Homepage #29
quote:
Originally written by Student of Trinity:

What would be the problem with fetal development? A fetus is small and lives in fluid, where it tumbles around a lot. So neither orientation nor structural stress seems to be an issue.
I know for a fact that there are problems with early embryonic development in microgravity in some species, including mice. Basically, the embryo has to decide which end is going to grow up to be its head and which end is going to grow up to be its butt, and one of the ways it does that is establishing various chemical gradients, some with the assistance of gravity. If it can't decide, it won't develop.

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The Empire Always Loses: This Time For Sure!
Posts: 9973 | Registered: Saturday, March 30 2002 08:00
Electric Sheep One
Member # 3431
Profile #30
Again, though, Mars isn't microgravity. You can tell which way is up. Though I'm surprised, from the point of view of physics, that a blastocyst in fluid would really notice gravity at all. If there have been experiments with mice in space not growing babies, I'd strongly suspect some other explanation, involving a more general response of the mother's body to weightlessness. The gravitational orientation of the fetus itself smells like a red herring to me.

A problem with pregnancy is a problem regardless, of course, however complex its cause. And if the problem isn't just about orientation, then it might conceivably (ha) persist into weak gravity as well. But we can probably hope to tweak reproductive biochemistry rather more easily than we can create artificial gravity.

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Posts: 3335 | Registered: Thursday, September 4 2003 07:00
Apprentice
Member # 8633
Profile Homepage #31
Theres a point in colonizing mars, as it isnt a huge amount different than earth, and would be colonizable sometime in the future.

Earth's already overcrowded, so it basically has to be done.
Posts: 21 | Registered: Wednesday, May 2 2007 07:00
...b10010b...
Member # 869
Profile Homepage #32
quote:
Originally written by Student of Trinity:

If there have been experiments with mice in space not growing babies, I'd strongly suspect some other explanation, involving a more general response of the mother's body to weightlessness. The gravitational orientation of the fetus itself smells like a red herring to me.
It can't have anything to do with the mother's body; it happens even in vitro. Problems start as early as the two-cell stage.

Ref: Kojima et al. (2000). Effects of simulated microgravity on mammalian fertilization and preimplantation embryonic development in vitro. Fertility and Sterility 74(6), pp. 1142-1147.

Further research suggests that impaired embryonic development in microgravity may be a result of disruption to certain signalling pathways, particularly cGMP and nitric oxide synthase. I suppose the good news is that if we can get a handle on what's going wrong, we stand a chance of fixing it.

[ Friday, November 09, 2007 01:19: Message edited by: Thuryl ]

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The Empire Always Loses: This Time For Sure!
Posts: 9973 | Registered: Saturday, March 30 2002 08:00
Off With Their Heads
Member # 4045
Profile Homepage #33
That was just a guess, given that just about any screwed-up conditions interfere with pregnancy. I'm willing to bet that there are a bunch of other problems that arise, too.

And if we're counting on manipulating our biology in order to handle low-g better, we're again at the difficulty level of the giant, rotating spaceships.

This probably shows that I'm right, that gravity is one of the trickiest problems to handle in space colonization. I think most of the other problems could be overcome, albeit with incredible expense, as long as we were staying inside our own solar system.

I wonder if water is another serious problem. I mean, Earth has these huge oceans and clouds that rain down water all the time, and we use water constantly in order to survive. Mars doesn't exactly have oceans or clouds, and neither do the other places in the solar system that we could go, to the best of my knowledge. What could we do about that?

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Arancaytar: Every time you ask people to compare TM and Kel, you endanger the poor, fluffy kittens.
Smoo: Get ready to face the walls!
Ephesos: In conclusion, yarr.

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The Archive of all released BoE scenarios ever
Posts: 7968 | Registered: Saturday, February 28 2004 08:00
Shaper
Member # 32
Profile #34
I think the problem of water is more a question of efficiency. As it is we probably waste water more than anything else. Over a period of time we give off the same amount of water we take in...

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Lt. Sullust
Quaere verum
Posts: 2462 | Registered: Wednesday, October 3 2001 07:00
Infiltrator
Member # 7488
Profile #35
quote:
Originally written by Zelda:

The reality is that at this point, we really can't colonize other planets. And current science authorities tell us that it won't ever happen.
It'll probably happen whether we want it to or not; it's just a matter of when. And "when" is probably a few thousand years in the future.

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Posts: 558 | Registered: Friday, September 15 2006 07:00
Electric Sheep One
Member # 3431
Profile #36
I don't have access to Fertility and Sterility, but there can't have been too many experiments like this actually done in space. Lots of things could go wrong with one experiment. The ISS, which I presume is where this must have been done, is actually pretty bad for science, because gravity is not the only variable that gets changed when you go there.

Cells are just too small, for gravity to make a gradient in anything that would be noticeable over the length of a cell. Or so it seems to me, off the cuff. I could be wrong. But I'd bet a beer.

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Posts: 3335 | Registered: Thursday, September 4 2003 07:00
Agent
Member # 8030
Profile Homepage #37
Originally by Kelandon
quote:
I wonder if water is another serious problem. I mean, Earth has these huge oceans and clouds that rain down water all the time, and we use water constantly in order to survive. Mars doesn't exactly have oceans or clouds, and neither do the other places in the solar system that we could go, to the best of my knowledge. What could we do about that?
Two of Jupiter's moons have unique characteristic that scientist's say have the potential to support simple organisms.

The first moon is Europa. It's surface is entirely ice, but further within, it is believed that liquid water exists. If conditions are ideal, prokaryotic organisms can possibly exist. However, Europa holds no atmosphere, unlike its fellow moon Titan.
Titan has a thick, icy methane atmosphere. Because of this, it has captured the attention of NASA and various other space organizations. Flybys radar scans have shown that the moon has flowing and stagnant bodies of liquid methane. Titans extreme temperatures are a setback to life, however.

[ Friday, November 09, 2007 16:22: Message edited by: Excalibur ]

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"On the earth, nations will be in anguish and perplexity at the roaring and the tossing of the sea" Luke 21:25
Posts: 1384 | Registered: Tuesday, February 6 2007 08:00
Off With Their Heads
Member # 4045
Profile Homepage #38
The Jovian moons are rather small, though. Where the acceleration due to gravity is 9.8 m/s^2 here on Earth and 3.8 on Mars, it's nearer to 1 on Europa and Titan. That's darn near zero-g.

And also, yeah, Titan's temperature — 98 Kelvin! That's nearly 200 below, Celsius — is prohibitively low. Europa, eh, not as sure.

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Arancaytar: Every time you ask people to compare TM and Kel, you endanger the poor, fluffy kittens.
Smoo: Get ready to face the walls!
Ephesos: In conclusion, yarr.

Kelandon's Pink and Pretty Page!!: the authorized location for all things by me
The Archive of all released BoE scenarios ever
Posts: 7968 | Registered: Saturday, February 28 2004 08:00
Agent
Member # 8030
Profile Homepage #39
Just a thought, more like an EV Nova influenced thought.
*laughs at self*

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"On the earth, nations will be in anguish and perplexity at the roaring and the tossing of the sea" Luke 21:25
Posts: 1384 | Registered: Tuesday, February 6 2007 08:00
Infiltrator
Member # 4248
Profile #40
quote:
Originally written by falco1029:


Earth's already overcrowded, so it basically has to be done.

What about just reducing the amount of people down here on earth? It would be much easier than sending significant amounts of humans to other planets. Think of it; how many people can you realistically send on a several year journey to another planet? For Mars to be a solution for overpopulation, we would need to be able to send millions of people on one ship to accomplish anything. I don't think it's going to happen.

Seriously, I am convinced that any problem we have here is best solved, well, here, and will be much cheaper than shooting excess people to space. If all else fails, we can always start a war...

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Life is a neverending carneval where everyone has multiple costumes. I just hope mine are pleasing to the eye.
Posts: 617 | Registered: Tuesday, April 13 2004 07:00
Shock Trooper
Member # 10374
Profile #41
Do you voulentier to be killed to reduce population?Nobody would accept that.

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Posts: 263 | Registered: Sunday, September 9 2007 07:00
Shaper
Member # 3442
Profile Homepage #42
quote:
Originally written by LakiRa@:

Do you voulentier to be killed to reduce population?Nobody would accept that.
People who misspell "volunteer" should be made to fight.

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Nikki's Nook - pretty, pretty?
Posts: 2864 | Registered: Monday, September 8 2003 07:00
Law Bringer
Member # 2984
Profile Homepage #43
quote:
Originally written by Frozen Feet:

Seriously, I am convinced that any problem we have here is best solved, well, here, and will be much cheaper than shooting excess people to space. If all else fails, we can always start a war...
...

I'm going to assume that was sarcasm, if only because I've thought well of you most of the time I've known you. :/

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Posts: 8752 | Registered: Wednesday, May 14 2003 07:00
Shock Trooper
Member # 10374
Profile #44
quote:
Originally written by Us:

People who misspell "volunteer" should be made to fight.
Do you challenge me to a duel?
One who loses will be made to fight.

p.s English is not my first language so get used to spelling mistakes.

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You must show me respect becouse...never mind why but do respect me!
All hail me, your...something.
Don't contradict me or I'l...GUARDS!
Posts: 263 | Registered: Sunday, September 9 2007 07:00
Law Bringer
Member # 335
Profile Homepage #45
quote:
Originally written by LakiRa@:

quote:
Originally written by Us:

People who misspell "volunteer" should be made to fight.
Do you challenge me to a duel?
One who loses will be made to fight.

The one who loses will be dead. The one who wins will have already fought. Pyrrhic victory?

—Alorael, who doesn't think it's necessary to start wholesale slaughter for population control. Forced sterilization would work just as well, if not better, in the long run. Nobody objects to that, right?
Posts: 14579 | Registered: Saturday, December 1 2001 08:00
Shaper
Member # 32
Profile #46
Overpopulation isn't the primary concern; extinction is. As for the rest of the critters that we share this rock with, we should help those that can't help themselves. Let the dolphins build their own ships. ;)

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Lt. Sullust
Quaere verum
Posts: 2462 | Registered: Wednesday, October 3 2001 07:00
Councilor
Member # 6600
Profile Homepage #47
Don't you think teaming up with the dolphins would improve our chances of success, though? :P

Dikiyoba.

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Episode 4: Spiderweb Reloaded
Posts: 4346 | Registered: Friday, December 23 2005 08:00
Lifecrafter
Member # 6388
Profile #48
To add a little bit to the discussion:

Mars Direct is a fairly feasible-looking, if somewhat overambitious, scheme to colonize Mars. It works by sending over an advance probe which uses the Martian atmosphere and some dry reagents to create simple rocket fuel - and sets up an unmanned fore-base; you send it over there, have it sit there for a couple of years, and then go over there with a manned probe and occupy it for a little while.

Scale it up by several times and you get a fairly realistic scheme for colonizing Mars.

However, there is one HUGE issue with interplanetary colonization: unless the place we're colonizing is a sunblasted hellscape in which no life could reasonably exist, we're going to contaminate it with Terran life; at best that goes a long way to arrest scientific progress on abiogenesis, and at worst it actually sets science back on the planet in question - as they say, once life emerges all potential life becomes potential food for life. Terran microorganisms, especially the most hardy ones, are going to crowd out the locals.

This is bad for Mars, but absolutely prohibitive for somewhere like Europa, which has a large enough chance of native life and an environment conducive enough to terran invasion (water is easy to travel quickly through, as opposed to land and air) that exploring is almost beyond the pale, let alone colonizing.

Regarding dark matter: as Jeff Rowland says, scientists proving it would be like Brokaw going on TV and telling us scientists discovered Hell was a real place and you went there after you die no matter what you do.
Posts: 794 | Registered: Tuesday, October 11 2005 07:00
Electric Sheep One
Member # 3431
Profile #49
Dark matter is not that bad. It could conceivably remain a scientific mystery, and even if it doesn't its explanation may not convince extreme skeptics on the order of anti-evolutionists. But there is a lot of data available, and limited freedom to tune theories to match it. It is perfectly possible, maybe even likely, that a convincing agreement between theory and observation will eventually nail down dark matter pretty well.

[ Monday, November 12, 2007 12:53: Message edited by: Student of Trinity ]

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Posts: 3335 | Registered: Thursday, September 4 2003 07:00

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