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Raising a child in different gravity

  1. Jun 8, 2008 #1
    Lets say we inhabit a new planet, with a slightly different mass like mars, or a planet with greater mass... assume we can literally just walk off our ship into breathable air... blah blah... what happens to our bodies under the effects of stronger/weaker gravity.. and how will our children adapt to it, will they die, will they live? When I say children, I mean children born on the new planet, will they look different, will they be structured differently, be inherently smaller, or larger?
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 8, 2008 #2


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    The flat out answer would be "we don't know." This question is very speculative and requires a speculative answer, which would normally not be permitted here. However, we do know something about how spaceflight affects the physiology of adults (the astronauts), particularly in terms of muscle atrophy and cardiovascular responses. We also can draw upon what we know of human development in varied climates and altitudes to get some idea of how the physical environment affects development. We could also inform this discussion with a comparative anatomy or physiology approach of looking at organisms developing in vastly different environments here on Earth (i.e., deep sea organisms vs. those adapted for more shallow waters). This would not directly address the original question, but would be within the bounds of discussion we could allow here, and allow reasonable speculation rather than wild guessing.

    So, this topic is going to be on a bit of a short leash given the potential to become overly speculative. Please use peer-reviewed publications (i.e., biological or anthropological journals may be relevant here), or sources such as case reports from NASA regarding effects of space flight on humans or other organisms, to support discussion here.
  4. Jun 17, 2008 #3
    Well if we were to look at other organisms, there was an experiment couple years back dealing with flies(???) I think. Anyways the result was that the ones brought up into space ended up living longer( messes with body's natural "Clock" which is dealt in quantum physics) however their reproductive cycle was all screwy. Their offsprings was unaffected by this however.
    And as Moonbear said, it's very speculative. We could assume what would happen based on our knowledge of the human physiology. There have been research on certain people that live in different regions such as those who live up in the mountains and the effect of gravity on development before, but it never caught on because their were other factors involved. But usually those who live in higher areas tend to be smaller. And those who are nurtured closer to sea level actually grow taller. This, could be a result of gravity, in which the greater the force acting on the individual causes greater bone density to develop. But we must take in consideration of other factors such as genetics and nutritional intake.
    The answer won't be long though considering that in the next couple decades (*Crosses Fingers*) we could already be living on the moon, hopefully.
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