Let's imagine a near future where mankind starts to expand into the solar system. For various reasons, some humans start to be born and raised in space, in zero gravity and micro-gravity.

What characteristics could these humans have?

For a list of negative points, it's easy to find:

  • Weaker immune system
  • Muscle atrophy
  • Bones atrophy
  • Motion sickness on earth
  • Eyesight affected
  • Puffy face and so on

So basically, life on earth is going to be hell for these people, and they will need extended medication just to be able to survive. I want to imagine reasons that could counterbalance these points and make these persons extremely valuable to a space program. I want to point out that I'm not necessarily looking for very realistic answers, (I intentionally avoided using the hard-science tag) but more for coherent ideas.

I came up with some ideas already:

  • Most of the negative points above wouldn't be a problem in zero gravity
  • Better 3D motion
  • More tolerant to nervous stress
  • Higher IQ
  • Shorter sleep time
  • ...

So my question is: What ideas can you find to develop this list? What traits could make a human better suited for space exploration?

  • $\begingroup$ Those advantages are pure phantasy,and the disadvantages also apply to adults that spend long time in space. $\endgroup$
    – Karl
    Dec 10, 2016 at 7:31
  • $\begingroup$ Which trait could make a human better suited for space exploration ? - brains. Using artificial gravity aka centrifugal force will solve zero gravity and microgravity problems, especially if those people plan to be born there. Just saying. Also you should avoided probably Science-based tag not hard-science tag. hard-science != hard scify. $\endgroup$
    – MolbOrg
    Dec 10, 2016 at 7:33
  • $\begingroup$ Zero-G-humans would be as badly suited to space ships as they would be to earth: space ships need to accelerate / decelerate / change course unless you plan on parking them in orbit around a single planet. And that causes 'gravity' on the ship. So, maybe they are suited for very long space flights between solar systems e.g., but I doubt they are well-suited for light and maneuverable fighter craft (unless you invent artificial (anti-)gravity) $\endgroup$
    – subrunner
    Dec 10, 2016 at 22:00

2 Answers 2


In no particular order:

  • Lack of claustrophobia or fear of deep space.

  • Less prone to loneliness. Would feel at home with a small number of people in a can in the middle of the vacuum.

  • Instinctual grasp of gravity free, mostly friction free Newtonian mechanics that most people in space have to overcome.

  • Better sense of direction in space environments, and of distance and direction in space navigation.

  • Tolerance of cosmic rays (those who lacked this might not have been viable and would have miscarried or been stillborn).

  • Cosmic ray exposure of parents and child could be mutagenic. Mutations that might be useful could include an additional set of cones to expand vision into the ultraviolet or infrared, or perhaps to have acute visual sensitivity to non-luminous matter (e.g. space dust and asteroids) on nearly black backgrounds (e.g. by briefly obscuring stars) and distinctions in very low light almost black on black scenes. Sense of smell might be further diminished to capture a smaller variety of smells, in exchange much like it was when our primate ancestors traded smell for color vision.

  • Another mutation that might be useful would be to reactive the mammalian hibernation instinct. Lots of times in deep space, an ability to minimize one's life support drain and boredom in long boring stretches would be very adaptive, particularly if key life support systems (e.g. food supply garden failure or air purifier capacity) were degraded on a long trip between stations - those with the mutation would be more likely to survive.

  • Space natives would actually likes the taste of the food that is practical to make in space and would probably be innovative in creating new dishes that put the available ingredients to their best advantage.

  • Subconsciously acutely sensitive to when all is right in space stations and space ships and when things are awry and what might be wrong based on subtle sound, vibration, temperature, humidity, smell, air movement, etc. cues that someone who hasn't absorbed every last detail of those since birth would miss. This would present as a highly intuitive harmony with their space environment. If something is broken, they'd be the first to know that something was amiss, the first to figure out specifically what was amiss, and the first to figure out how to fix it.

  • Ability to use breath, subtle body movement of body and clothing, and natural drafts on ship to achieve something more like flying and less like floating.

  • More intuition and experience with what works and what doesn't in zero-G hand to hand combat.

  • Immunity to pathogens that aren't present in space is no big deal.

  • Assuming that their parents' employer has a legal obligation to them, it would be cheap to keep them in space where their bodies could cope and expensive to both travel down the gravity well to Earth after a long trip to Earth in the first place from somewhere else in the solar system, and then once the child arrived, they'd have to pay a lot to create an environment where the child could cope. It would be cheaper to keep a potential part of the labor force that was cheaper to maintain in space (due to lack of muscle/bone development, lack of immunity, etc.) than on Earth.

  • Living in space would leave you without a lot of demand for personal possessions let along something really expensive like real estate or a formal college education. If the space child didn't have many things that money could be spent upon, the desire for the spending wouldn't come into being and they wouldn't have to pay the space child very much money.


One important characteristic required for human colonization is the psychological profile. Humans who have been born in space may have a very different idea of space to those born on a planet. Instead of seeing space as a place to be travelled through, to them it is "home". They don't have a desire to return to a particular place and so can cope better with being cooped up in tin can.

There might however be conflict with those born on the planet, especially if the planet born humans have a position of seniority (real or assumed)


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