Drinking in ZERO-G! (and other challenges of a trip to Mars)


What would it be like to travel to Mars and be one of its first colonists? well to get a small taste National Geographic is sponsoring this video and sending me on a Microgravity experience – a vomit comet Come on this plane flies in a series of parabolic arcs so that if and everything inside can essentially be in freefall creating a microgravity environment the plane can also simulate the gravity on other bodies like the Moon and Mars by modifying the parabola if I were really going to Mars I would experience not 30 seconds of microgravity as I do in this plane but eight months of it and then when I got to Mars this would be the gravity on the surface This is what it would be like to be on the surface of Mars there the gravity is only about 37% of what it is on earth which means you’d be able to jump Much higher if you’re an Average jumper on earth you get double the airtime on Mars and have no problem at all dunking on a regulation basketball hoop The Moon, the gravity is only 1/6 of what it is here on earth so you could really do a lot of crazy aerobics without being exhausted one major issue With low gravity is that it’s not very easy to exercise. I mean you’re used to the fact that your arm weighs about 5% of your body weight so just Lifting your arm and regular G is a little bit of a workout you don’t get any of that when you are Traveling to Mars and you only get a fraction of it when you’re actually on Mars on a journey to Mars as on the space station your muscles would weaken and shrink they would atrophy Studies have shown that muscle mass can decrease by up to 20% On space flights lasting just 5 to 11 days so you’d have to exercise lifting weights would be useless So you’d have to rely on Elastic resistance for example on the space station astronauts are elastically tethered to a treadmill and they typically exercise two and a half hours everyday Even so the lack of weight pushing on bones results in a decrease in bone density Astronauts can lose one to two percent of bone Mass per month mostly in their lower extremities that’s over 10 times faster bone loss than people on earth experience through Osteoporosis as they get older and in weightless conditions other forces become significant like the surface tension of water everyday activities become a lot more challenging, even things like washing your face Oh probably gonna hat That is crazy look at the surface tension the water holds it together like that Dealing with liquids and microgravity is really difficult which makes showering brushing your teeth and going to the bathroom much harder it’s one of the most challenging things I got just gonna up my nose Got it in the absence of Earth’s gravity you would Also notice some strange effects like what happens when I spin this I showed how on earth this disc flips Heaviside up when you spin it so I wanted to see what happens in microgravity right here Do you see it flipping back and forth did you see that let me slow it down so you can see it better the disc actually flips back and forth The hole goes from one side to the other and back Watch which side of the disc the hole is on first its facing towards me and then it flips away from me and Now it’s towards me again and now it’s away from me This effect has actually been seen on the space station with a t-bar handle it’s an example of the intermediate axis theorem that is Rotation about an intermediate axis not the least or a greatest moment of inertia is Unstable and any tiny disturbance will cause it to rotate about another axis as well in addition to dealing with microgravity on a trip to Mars you would also Be exposed to significant amounts of radiation when it’s bedtime on orbit normally you fall asleep pretty quickly because because you’re tired but once in a while you have your eyes closed and you’re not asleep yet and you occasionally will see a flash of light it’s some sort of Human body reaction to the radiation from the universe And we think it is heavy particles or individual Bursts of energy coming from radiation that are either going through the eyeball itself Or going through the optic nerve a picture back to the first astronauts who must have closed their eyes and seen that radiation and going I’m not going to tell anybody about this because No, one’s told me about I’m not talking I can just imagine the first two guys that said hey I am sometimes I see flashes of light do you see flashes of light and then Oh, we all see flashes alike. Oh okay, well that’s that’s alright then to me all of these difficulties represent not deal breakers but challenges to be overcome for Humans to guarantee our long-term survival we must become a multiplanetary species on mars Simply stepping into a spacesuit which currently weigh as much as 310 pounds would make you feel about as heavy as you are on earth So, maybe you wouldn’t feel like a basketball star after all but this would also, allow you to maintain your muscle and bone mass it’s not that hard to shield yourself for radiation you can put it into the Insulation of the ship you can use water of course it’s a terrific radiation Absorber so you can shield the ship but you can’t ignore it and of course One of the major challenges of different gravity is the nausea that it brings our bodies are not necessarily evolved to be these different gravity situations so, we’ve just gone through 50 parabolas I don’t know if I could last many more before I start to Lose, my breakfast you know what I’m saying but you know our bodies evolved for millions of years in 9.8. M/s^2 gravity if we ever moved to Mars then actually established qualities and live there our evolution may take us in very different directions Thanks to the National Geographic Channel for sending me on this zero-g. Adventure it’s truly awesome Life on Mars may be closer than you think check out national Geographics new season of Mars on Monday November 12th at 9/8 central

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