Why the most viable Mars colonist candidates sleep late and eat meat

Contributed by
Jan 28, 2016, 2:32 PM EST (Updated)

As we patiently wait for the first mission to actually send colonists to Mars, scientists are trying to figure out which people might be best suited to setting up shop on the Red Planet.

Two prerequisites that could make it a little easier to get used to the new world? Sleeping late and eating meat, apparently.

A new study published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (PNAS) dug into circadian body clocks, and how having one that is very in tune with the Earth’s rotation can contribute to a healthier lifestyle. Part of that rhythm involves syncing up and waking early in the mornings.

So, what does that mean if you’re moving to Mars, where the days run 37 minutes longer than the typical 24 hours we’re used to here on good ol’ Planet Earth? One of the study’s authors told The Telegraph that adjusting to life on Earth should be possible for people with longer internal clocks. But early risers could face “serious intractable long-term problems” adjusting to the days on the Red Planet. Put simply: Those who sleep late would likely be more capable to adjust. Who knew? Being a bit lazy could make you a better astronaut.

Beyond sleep patterns, another important factor that will play into establishing a Mars colony is the food we’ll be eating once we get there. NASA food scientist Vicky Kloeris told Popular Science the eventual Mars colonists will likely need to have minimal dietary requirements — similar to astronauts now. They’ll be eating similar food to what International Space Station (ISS) astronauts eat, and accommodating a diet for vegans/someone with a gluten allergy/etc. could add even more expenses to an already very expensive mission. So they’ll be looking for people with average-joe palates who can chomp on freeze-dried chicken fingers, etc.

So, if you're planning on exploring the stars, set the alarm a half hour later and hope you don't have any dietary restricitons. Hey, no one said space is easy.

(Via Popular Science)

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