39 thoughts on “Babies On Mars”

  1. Look, I guess it’s interesting on an academic level to have these discussions but in all seriousness these people are talking about step 5,238 when we are still on step 3…

    We have no spacecraft to get us to Mars
    We have no propulsion system to get us out of LEO and en route to Mars

    We have no landing craft to land on Mars
    We have no habitats to live in while on Mars

    But yes, we should talk about childbirth/child rearing on Mars…

    1. I agree completely. There are so many other steps that we have to go through before it would become a realistic possibility. But it is only by going through those steps, learning about all the practical requirements of living on Mars for the long-term and finding out how the colonists are affected by their new environment, that we can learn whether pregnancy and child-rearing on Mars is feasible. It’s a waste of time speculating in advance of the evidence.

  2. I find it interesting that the author of “Safe is not an Option” is siding with the anti-risk movement. This article is strong on the colonists must live in an authoritarian, “the ruler knows best”, society.
    Seems like it was just yesterday we were encouraged to make mistakes fast in order to learn and stretch our knowledge.
    We think we know that zero gravity is not good. We don’t know anything about partial gravity. To assume the worst is invoking the “precautionary principle”. In general those people are anti progress: don’t do anything until we’ve analyzed it to death and know the results will be good.
    Having children has always been a risky venture. Those who didn’t take the risk failed Darwin’s test. (My translation of “survival of the fittest” – have grandchildren who are likely to have grandchildren. )

    1. The issue here is that you’re not risking your own life, you’re risking the life of a child. I’m not proposing that we “analyze it to death,” but until we have some data, from a gravity lab, I do think we should err on the side of caution, lest we bring unfortunate monsters into the world.

      1. The risk to mother and child for any pregnancy is not zero. My mother had 6 kids and a miscarriage. I have a daughter and two grandsons. Why should we try to make Martians safer to have children than here on Earth? Demographics are Destiny. Western Civilization total fertility rate (~1.82 child-per woman) is not recoverable already. In 20 -30 years there will be no white race. It’s not about white supremacy – its about white survival.

        Man will not colonize the Solar System and the Stars by shoving humans into orbit through a 5 meter hole. They will be born there. Fertility and pregnancy research in orbit and low-gee is an area far too long delayed.

        The real issue is the choice by many to not have children right here on Earth. I recognize the attitude in all of these articles as totally in line with Margaret Sanger and the campaigned to end all child births. Submit to the authority of the state!

        If I get to Mars I will make my own decisions on procreation. I do so on Earth as well. Hot Green Space Babes be warned!

        1. I am not opposed to procreation on Mars. I am opposed to doing so in the complete absence of any data on what might happen. I think it’s criminal that we aren’t researching this, and the researchers shouldn’t be involuntary children.

          1. There may or may not be conditions on Mars (maybe radiation like Solar Flares/Cosmic Rays) that may cause issues with people having babies there. But I very much doubt gravity will be one of them. Mar’s gravity is .38 Earth’s gravity; that is more than a third not that much less than half. Don’t think the data from “microgravity” really applies to .38 gravity. But the aforementioned radiation (or perhaps some other unknown environmental toxin/hazard on Mars) is a much greater concern.

          2. “But we aborted 984,000 babies in 2013. Can’t see where harming babies even registers theses days.”

            I agree with Russell. I don’t see how asking unborn children if they want to take a chance and be conceived and delivered on Mars (or any other Orb/Colony/Generational Star Ship) can be of any ethical issue. Life always takes chances. Or it ceases to be life. As in Jurassic Park: “Life will find a way”. I hope it’s OUR life.

            Besides, kids are more fun than robots and dogs combined. All three is a real trip!

          3. “But the aforementioned radiation (or perhaps some other unknown environmental toxin/hazard on Mars)”

            Dust, the dust is toxic.

        2. Hot Green Space Babes be warned!

          Given your racism, I imagine the “Hot Green Space Babes” will appreciate your warning.

          1. But we aborted 984,000 babies in 2013.

            Demographics are Destiny. Western Civilization total fertility rate (~1.82 child-per woman) is not recoverable already. In 20 -30 years there will be no white race.

            Nor will there be a Western Civilization.

            What other races do is not my concern. I’m a put off by the DINKs among the Space Cadets bloviate on Space Settlement and don’t have children. Some cannot, even here on Earth, and that is sad. Does anyone think space will be settled after Western Civilization is destroyed ?

            And thanks for the “Rasccit” name calling. It’s my first. I appreciate the honor.

          2. “Nor will there be a Western Civilization.

            What other races do is not my concern.”

            Ideology isn’t skin deep. It doesn’t matter what color people are as long as they hold the ideals of Western Civilization.

          3. You should listen to Wodun. As for me, I just think it is nice that even though you’re worried about preserving the white race, you are still open minded enough to marry and have children with those hot green space babes.

          4. Bob-1, The countries from Pakistan to Libya and Turkey to Somalia have an average IQ of 90. I wish them all well – I really do – but when the Islamic Caliphate takes over they are not going to make Mars an serious issue.

            Not that our own country does either!
            (This may be out of sequence-not sure why)

          5. Did you know that there are many non-white Americans? Did you know that many of the Americans working on the various problems associated with going to Mars are not white?

  3. It isn’t just a matter of risk. We don’t even know if it’s *possible* to conceive and carry a child to term under Martian conditions. The chances of a successful pregnancy might very well be 0.0. Even if you don’t *care* about ethics, there are practical considerations here. Without reproduction, settlement (in the true sense of the term) is impossible. I can’t fathom why people who say they want to “colonize Mars” would be opposed to finding out.

  4. The centrifuge on the ISS currently wont work for testing mice but there is supposedly another centrifuge heading up that can do experiments on mice.

    1. “You will also have the problem of raising growing infants and children under hypogravity conditions.”

      Literally bouncing off the walls.

  5. My considered opinion is the Ms Bishop and all who think they have a right to reach off Earth and tell people what to do can go to hell, and the sooner they do so the better.

    We’ll collect data the same way humans did when moving from Savannah to the ice sheets. Survivors survive.

    1. Yes, but that was a very gradual migration, into slightly different conditions, with each generation. Going from one gee to four tenths is abrupt. I think it horrifically unethical to try to have children there with zero data.

      1. Isn’t it also horribly unethical to have a child you won’t care for and can’t afford? Yet we don’t sterilize all indigent drug addicts.

        I think this is still up to the parents. Our duty is to inform them, but the decision is theirs.

  6. Well, the folks who want it have perhaps 10 years to get it. After that it is moot.

    “The Meek shall inherit the Earth… The rest of us will have gone to the Stars.”

  7. I will add that you or I or Ms Bishop have absolutely zero, zip, zilch right to tell a woman going to Mars what to do. It will be her decision, perhaps with or without inputs from a significant other, as to whether to have kids or not.

    We have no say in the matter. We do not even have a right to a say in the matter and we certainly have less than zero right to enforce our own opinions. Ms Bishop is positively evil in my book. The very statement that she would sterilize anyone going to Mars infuriated me as no other statement I have read in years. Even things Obama has said have not had me wishing he would at that instant drop dead… slowly and painfully and that I would drink to his perdition. But that is what she inspired in me. Instant, visceral hatred.

    1. “We have no say in the matter. We do not even have a right to a say in the matter ”

      Everyone has a say. Everyone has a right to express their opinion. Don’t use this tactic to try and shut down debate. It is like the old claim that only women can speak about abortion and that people who would have been aborted have no right to speak out, like they really were aborted and no longer exist.

      I’d wager that if women don’t want to go to Mars and experiment on offspring that you still want to go to Mars. So some opinions count regardless of gender. Because much like how the tactic is used with abortion, men who are pro-choice are allowed to express their opinion.

      It seems to me, that a variable gravity station of some kind will be needed regardless of whether or not Mars is colonized. Building one will be much cheaper than colonization and depending on the findings, would determine whether making babies is feasible or not. IMO, the time and money required to colonize Mars justifies doing some preliminary research.

      That isn’t to say no human should set foot on Mars before we know all the answers or that said humans on Mars wont make bad decisions but that we should hold off on full scale colonization until we know.

  8. I certainly agree that if people have the means to get to Mars and survive there long enough to try and gestate a child that’s their own business.

    But at the same time there are all too many who would go assuming that it won’t be a problem, or not much of one. They need to be fully informed, and the fact that we have no partial g data means _no one_ can yet be fully informed.

    Unlike some others I say that if people want to and can take the chance knowing that we don’t know, that’s again their business. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t shout from the rooftops that we need to get that data, because not having it is very bad indeed and finding out too late might have implications beyond a single person or expedition.

    I can’t say often enough that it’s appalling that this many decades along we don’t know squat about the effects of partial g.

    1. “I certainly agree that if people have the means to get to Mars and survive there long enough to try and gestate a child that’s their own business.”

      Rich people problems but how many rich people make decisions like this without doing any due diligence? A couple who has the money to go to Mars and spent years in preparation to go, will likely have thought about procreation to some extent. Having a kid would likely be a conscious decision rather than alcohol induced one night stand. As a conscious decision, they will care about the well being of their offspring and want the best life for them they can provide. They might not be all on board the space cadet train popping out babies so they can be science experiments.

  9. That variable gravity facility would seem to be a matter of urgency. Not just for settlements on the moon or Mars but for design data for space habitats. Just how much g do we need, long term?
    I’m not a fan of Mars settlement. IMO building habitats suited to us without the problems of living at the bottom of yet another gravity well is the better way to go.

  10. Wodun: Sure, you can hold any opinion you wish and talk about it. And a woman who goes to Mars doesn’t need to even give you the time of day. You are, and SHOULD be, powerless in the final decision. I reject ‘societal’ decisions. Only individuals on the spot have the right to make that decision. It is their life, their body. They own both and so it really does not matter in the end what you or I think. That person can and will do what THEY chose. Not what you want.

    There is a difference between holding an opinion and holding an opinion that actually does something. In this case, holding an opinion is just an exercise in hearing ourselves talk. It is meaningless.

    1. Nonsense. Holding opinions is how we change opinions.

      I’m sorry, Dale, but, with all respect, and we are long-time friends, I refuse your efforts to silence my opinions.

    2. “You are, and SHOULD be, powerless in the final decision.”

      Fuck that if I am the father, I do have a say. Raising a child is a partnership.

      “That person can and will do what THEY chose. ”

      I think people with the means to get to Mars will make better choices because they will have spent years if not decades in preparation. And assuming they want to have a kid to start a family, they will want the best for their child and won’t be popping out babies as science experiments.

      “In this case, holding an opinion is just an exercise in hearing ourselves talk. It is meaningless.”

      Its hardly meaningless.

  11. I will add however, that if someone actually did try enforced sterilization of all emigrants, then violence is called for. I do not make that statement lightly. Any government that enforced such would have put itself beyond the pale and beyond the respect of any decent human being and should be overthrown. They really would be entering into the realm of Stalin, Hitler, Pol Pot and others of their ilk. Eugenics died with those people. It should stay dead.

    For those some reasons, I really think the change of it happening is DeltaX->0.

    1. “They really would be entering into the realm of Stalin, Hitler, Pol Pot and others of their ilk. ”

      The flip side is acting like Dr Mengele, which you seem to think is OK. What you are advocating sounds like eugenics.

      I just think some research is in order first. Bring some animals to look at before full scale colonization. Mars gravity might be no big deal or it might be a little deal. How many parents actually want to roll the dice with their offspring like this? Wouldn’t potential parents want to have some reassurances their kids will turn out ok?

      If we spent trillions of dollars and decades on a Mars colony and it turned out we could not procreate, it would destroy any efforts to settle off this planet. Everyone involved would look like idiots no matter how rich or how high their IQ is.

  12. Ok maybe I was too argumentative there. What about persuasion?

    From what POV are you looking at this problem?

    Should our government try and stop people from doing what they want with their family on Mars? No, I don’t think so.

    But what if you are the parent? How do you appeal to potential parents who want to colonize mars? I think they want to be safe and have fulfilling lives for them and their children. How can you convince people to move to Mars if they don’t know if A) they can procreate and B) their children will lead relatively normal lives?

    You don’t need to sell a space cadet, they operate on passion not rational thought. What if the spouse isn’t a space cadet? How can you sell Mars to someone who is following a spouse or is in general disinterested in this space stuff?

    We don’t need all the answers and some problems would take generations of people living on Mars to discover but we should know some of the answers like if a sperm can implant an egg or if pregnancy can produce viable offspring. I would go to Mars in a heartbeat but I think it would be hard to talk a lady friend into going if we didn’t have the answers to some of these questions.

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