Space colonization and medical needs
OK, I consider myself a very healthy human being. I'm fit, and have plenty of energy. I know a lot about being self-sufficient and have had plenty of practice. I'm good with domestic animals and I'm a very hard worker.
I'm the kind of person who is everyone's friend. Picking a fight with me is nearly impossible.
For the reasons mentioned here, you'd think that I'd be the perfect candidate to live in a space colony, except for one thing.. I don't have a thyroid.
Not having a thyroid doesn't make me sick, or make me lose energy, but my life literally depends on medication. Without my daily thyroid hormone intake, I die..
I wonder if this would exclude me from ever becoming a space colony candidate.
This also brings up the question of medical care in space. What if someone needs medical attention? In space, this could be more likely than on earth, because people will be living under different environmental circumstances, the kind of atmosphere the body isn't quite used to.
The increased radiation could also increase the risk of cancer, plus people could already be sick when leaving earth, a medical test doesn't necessarily reveal everything. What do you think?
We don't really know yet exactly how a prolonged stay on Mrs for example would affect the human body. Some studies have been done, due to astronauts living in the space station for months on end, but we can't even begone to compare how years, or even decades on Mars would affect the human body, physically, but also mentally.
Gravity is an issue. Mars has about one third of gravity that the earth has. Residing in this kind of gravity will make you lose bone minerals which puts you at great risk for osteoporosis.
It is known that long time stays on the space station also affects your eye sight.
There is also the aspect of living in very close quarters. Add to this that your daily rhythm you've had all your life in your 24 hour days will be thrown off since a day on Mars is longer. In addition, you won't have fresh food. Add all of that together and it's a good recipe for depression as well as sleep disorders.
You can get ill, with a minimum of medical care. This could also have a psychological affect. You don's have a hospital near you, and really, you're many months away from the nearest hospital.
Then there is the radiation. You'd be exposed to far more radiation than you could be on earth, greatly increasing your risk of cancer. I don't think that life in a space colony will be easy, at least not at first.
At first, I think they'll send only the people who are physically fit with no known medical issues because of the lack of a robust medical care system. On Mars, if it can't be fixed with the limited medical supplies on hand, it's probably not going to get fixed. That's going to have an effect, not only on crew morale, but also on what a future Martian society might look like. Even after colonies have developed to the point where a decent hospital is possible, there's going to be an attitude that the colony shouldn't invest resources on colonists who can't pull their own weight for medical reasons. "Death with dignity" will be a thing when colonists have reached the point where they physically can't contribute, and all able-bodied members of colonies will just be expected to work if they don't want to get shoved out the airlock. Uncivilized by modern standards in the developed world? Sure it is. But that'll be reality in a colony that doesn't have robust medical care and can't support people who can't pull their own weight.
On the flip side, the kindest thing to do is to just turn down the ones who want to join if they have a medical condition that would require constant "managing" even if they whine and complain about how unfair it is. And an alternative to "death with dignity" might be sending unfit colonists back to Earth when they can't contribute anymore and the colony gets regular Aldrin Cycler style transports out their way.