Astronomy/Evolution of Man on the Moon
QUESTION: Dear Tom,
Bizarre question: by any stretch of the human imagination, might it be possible for man to develop traits or behaviours over time that would allow them to withstand the moon's environment without the use of a space suit? What would these traits and behaviours be?
I'm developing a concept for a novel, and any answers would help me tremendously.
Thank you so much!
ANSWER: No. It's a physical fact that liquid water (over 90% of our bodies) cannot exist in the vacuum of space or the moon's surface (or even Mars' present surface at far to low a pressure). Water goes to the vapor state once the atmospheric pressure becomes less than we have at 63,000 feet pressure on the earth because it's "boiling" point drops to less than 98.6 degrees F. You need a full spacesuit above about 63,000 feet.
It's those atmospheric pressures that need changed (increased) not human development. You can't defy the laws of physics. Not even roaches could live on the current moon and Mars surfaces.
If you evolved to be solid rock like the rocklike creatures, the Malcosians of star trek TV show (Or the silicon-based creature LaHorta of Star trek), only then could you live on the moon's surface and interior. Of course, is life really possible on a silicon based system? Jury is still out.
Erie, PA USA
---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------
QUESTION: Thank you so much for indulging me in my highly implausible scenario, and for coming back to me with a completely new concept to consider. The notion of an organism that has a different biochemistry altogether fascinates me. But if I may ask a follow-up: because, for the purposes of this novel, I still do want a human to be able to live on the moon sans space suit, is there anything in the lunar environment or in outer space that could alter the constitution of his body? I'm thinking of radiation or High-Z particles. In the Fantastic Four mythos, the heroes' spacecraft is bombarded by cosmic rays that alter the makeup of their bodies and give them superpowers.
In doing some reading on alternative forms of biochemistry, I was intrigued to learn of the hypothesis that some dust particles behaved like living organisms in a plasma. If my astronaut were somehow caught up in a dust storm and his skin was pierced by these dust particles, could this in some way change his constitution?
I know I'm grasping at straws, but all I ask is that you continue to indulge me in my cockamamy ideas. And if the methods I've suggested for altering a human being's biochemistry seem unlikely, I would be eternally grateful if you could propose alternative methods.
Thanks a mil, Tom!
Yeah, the high energy particles from the sun would kill him in minutes, irrespective of pressure and oxygen. Did you know that a sunburn on even Mars is deadly in about 30 minutes due to the solar UV radiation?
These are more medical or biological, or physics questions and hypotheses, not astronomy. I have no idea about the lunar dust. (Our astronauts brought lunar dust back with them... they said that it smelled like gunpowder.)
Besides, you are writing a fictional story, right? So under that scenario, anything can happen "magically" so take some literary license and do it... your way. I don't think a real sci-fi book fan... would care.
Erie, PA USA