As far as I know, time dilation has little effect on Mars compared to Earth, and I'm not asking with that in mind.

I'm rather asking if the low surface gravity (38% of Earth's) could allow humans to live longer because the lower gravity would strain the body less.

I read a study (I'll try to search for the ref.) that if you over-train frequently you could potentially decrease your lifespan, so wouldn't it make sense that if your body had much less stress applied to it (gravity) you could survive longer? Wouldn't the lower gravity also mean that you would have to train more in order to not degrade your muscles too much?

PS: Could it be that native Martians (if humans are ever born there) would be unable to ever come to earth since their bodies would be adjusted to the martian gravity? Maybe if they exercised a lot?

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    $\begingroup$ It might be good to clarify - are you asking about the rate of aging, or life expectancy? For example, moderate levels of radiation will decrease life expectancy, but probably have no measurable effects on the aging processes. The title "Would you age slower on mars?" may be overly specific, since the body of the question seems to focus on length of life. Lower gravity might indeed allow you to lead to more mobility, more activity & less "sagging" - in some ways you may age slower and allow a healthier lifestyle than your twin on Earth, but you might still die sooner. $\endgroup$ – uhoh Oct 6 '16 at 6:13
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    $\begingroup$ We simply don't know what the impact of low gravity will be. We have experience with near zero gravity, but that doesn't translate to 38% gravity. There's simply no way to simulate it or extrapolate it reliably. $\endgroup$ – GdD Oct 6 '16 at 12:37
  • $\begingroup$ @GdD Yes, but you can speculate over it. :) $\endgroup$ – Jonatan Oct 6 '16 at 12:39
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    $\begingroup$ Speculation without basis is a great way to get downvoted on this site @Johnny. $\endgroup$ – GdD Oct 6 '16 at 12:42

Short answer: Most likely not, but we don't really know.

There are theories about how gravity affects the physiology of our body, and we know what aspects get affected by lack of gravity. The overwhelming majority of effects noted due to low gravity are negative.

Effects of low gravity

As a data point, NASA has determined that the extremely low gravity of space induces symptoms akin to the aging processes.

"Studies of age-related health problems have shown that the process of physiological adaptation to the low gravity of space induces symptoms also seen in aging (some effects of aging appear to be due to inactivity rather than the aging process itself)."


Other environmental impacts

So, gravity by the evidence appears to be a net negative, so what about other factors?

Radiation comes to mind as a primary consideration

The surface of Mars has higher radiation levels compared to earth. For example, in the US total natural and artificial radiation exposure is ~1.7mrad/day, whereas the surface of Mars is ~20mrad/day. SPEs, which Mars is more exposed to due lacking magnetosphere and no ozone layer, drastically increase exposure to radiation.

Increased radiation exposure posed a >= 0 increased risk in cancer, so this most likely decreases the average life span of a human on Mars with a best case of not increasing life spans.


  • $\begingroup$ Thank for the reply, but didn't spaceX for instance plan on building an artificial electro magnetic field around a space base on mars so that the inhabitants would be protected from the radiation? $\endgroup$ – Jonatan Oct 6 '16 at 7:12
  • $\begingroup$ @Johnny Cosmic radiation does not cause aging. $\endgroup$ – user Oct 6 '16 at 15:13
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    $\begingroup$ @MichaelKjörling Yes, obviously. But it increases the chance of mutations happening in the body which in turn increases the likelihood of cancer forming in the body which in turn increases the chance of death. $\endgroup$ – Jonatan Oct 6 '16 at 15:18
  • $\begingroup$ @MichaelKjörling And if the chance of death is lower, the likelihood to live longer is greater thus increasing the average life span. $\endgroup$ – Jonatan Oct 6 '16 at 15:20
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    $\begingroup$ @Johnny But aging is still unrelated to life expectancy. $\endgroup$ – user Oct 6 '16 at 15:20

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