Everyone knows that the red planet Mars may one day become a new home for the humanity of the future. However, in order to turn this very harsh place into a warm refuge for humans and animals, scientists must first come up with various ways to adapt them. One of the main problems on the way of becoming Homo Sapiens as a real interplanetary species may be the low gravitational attraction of Mars, which is only 40% of the Earth's. Human bones atrophy under such conditions very quickly, turning even the most healthy person into a disabled person. Fortunately for astronauts, scientists have found a way to alleviate the plight of brave travelers. It turns out that ordinary wine can help them in this.
The benefits of wine for Martian colonists
Although Mars is our space neighbor, even the most advanced interplanetary vehicle takes about nine months to reach the surface of the Red Planet. It is no wonder: the minimum distance from Earth to Mars is as much as 55.76 million km, which makes the upcoming space flight truly grand in the history of mankind. At the same time, although the fourth planet from the Sun may seem to someone a rather attractive place for colonization (if only because it has a solid surface, and at the equator the daily temperature can reach +30 degrees Celsius), this place itself it’s far from being as welcoming as we would like.
One of the main shortcomings of life (if one can call it that) on the surface of a distant world will be the extremely rapid depletion of the muscles and bones of a person, which occurs there due to the unusually low gravity for our organisms, claims frontiersin.org. In order to prevent future astronauts from developing severe forms of osteoporosis, scientists need to invent a number of useful strategies that could, if not stop, then at least mitigate and slow down the course of this serious disease.
How to maintain bones and muscles in good shape on Mars?
In order for the pioneers of Mars to step, and not literally fall onto the surface of the Red Planet, researchers from Harvard wondered how muscles can be supported in conditions of low gravity. Their work, published in the journal Frontiers in Physiology, shows that a substance called resveratrol can significantly preserve muscle mass and strength in rats that have long been exposed to the destructive effects of the Mars gravity simulated in the laboratory.
Restaverol is a substance that is produced by some plants as a protection against parasites. It acts as an anti-inflammatory in humans and also lowers blood sugar.
The substance, which has shown good results in supporting the bone and muscle systems of rodents, is found in large quantities in the peel of grapes, in nuts and cocoa. In addition, his presence was seen in both red and white wine (although the content of resveratrol in red is an order of magnitude higher than in its white variety). Scientists note that a moderate daily dose of a useful substance softens softens the process of muscle deconditioning in an analogue of Martian gravity.
Marie Mortre, the lead author of the NASA study, believes that after only three weeks spent in space, the plantar muscle located in the calf of a person’s leg is reduced by a third. Gradually losing stamina, astronauts run the risk of losing their ability to move independently, which could threaten the complete abolition of the first Martian mission, manned.
Meanwhile, the use of resveratrol showed a successful result of preserving muscle mass in the experiment on “space” rats, whose paws were in a state almost similar to their “earthly” counterparts. However, although the substance helped protect muscle volume, the supplement did not completely save the average cross-sectional area of the plantar and calf fibers, which also play a large role in walking.
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Scientists attribute the unique properties of the substance to the effects of insulin, which, as you know, is less produced during space flight, but is directly related to resveratrol. Thus, the use of a useful substance during the treatment of patients with diabetes promotes their muscle growth and helps to better absorb glucose, which NASA experts cannot help but take into account who are studying the problem of the effect of low gravity on the human body.
Thus, the diet of future explorers of Mars will certainly include not only the usual space food, but also wine. Perhaps it will become that very drink that the astronauts will use when looking through the porthole at the Earth moving ever faster away from them on the way to their new, but still strange house. But it’s interesting – how will the colonizers of Mars get wine? Perhaps it will be transported on spaceships. And about whether it is possible to grow grapes on Mars necessary for making wine, read in our special material.