Martian Health Model, A Blueprint for Earth

 

SOL 228


Earth 2044

 The success of the MHM can be linked to two factors: a self-selected population and the adoption of active health monitoring technologies.  Illustration by Cathal Shtadler.

The success of the MHM can be linked to two factors: a self-selected population and the adoption of active health monitoring technologies.  Illustration by Cathal Shtadler.

The resounding success of the Martian Health Model (MHM) has many nations on Earth reevaluating aspects of their own health systems. The MHM is a comprehensive, no-cost health system that provides Martian individuals with healthcare, fitness, diet, psychological, and lifestyle support through hospital and home care, personalized fitness training, and active health monitoring technologies. The MHM is primarily funded through taxes on private corporations that are headquartered on Earth with operations on Mars, or on nations that have operations on Mars.

With a population of over 8000 on Mars, there are zero cases of self-inflicted obesity.

When compared to government health systems on Earth, the phenomenal success of the MHM cannot be understated. With a population of over 8000 on Mars (and one that is rapidly growing), there are zero cases of self-inflicted obesity. In addition, less than 3% of the population is clinically diagnosed with mental health issues other than cases of homesickness and mild-depression, which are common during a settler’s first two years on Mars. 

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The success of the MHM can be linked to two factors: a self-selected population and the adoption of active health monitoring technologies.  

Prior to traveling to Mars, settlers must fulfill certain physical and mental requirements in order to be granted Mars Travel Clearance. Prospective settlers must pass the Mars Astronaut Physical and Psychological Examination (MAPE)—although many of these requirements have been loosened since the start of commercial colonization in 2040. The high standards set by MAPE have resulted in a self-selected population on Mars, by only allowing individuals who prepare for and pass the MAPE examination.

“The Martian population is self-selecting in nature.”
— Dr. Jamal Perkins, MHM Physician-in-Chief

MHM Physician-in-Chief Dr. Jamal Perkins says, “the Martian population is self-selecting in nature. Settlers already realize the lifestyle changes they would have to make by coming here—especially concerning healthcare and fitness. The individuals on Mars are usually highly intelligent and skilled scientists, explorers, and entrepreneurs seeking new adventures. These individuals are willing to make some sacrifices to sustain a healthy life on Mars.” 

A plethora of active health monitoring devices allow for tailored fitness, health, and nutrition plans.

The success of the MHM also can be attributed to the plethora of active health monitoring devices that allow for tailored fitness, health, and nutrition plans for the colonists. In order to prevent the spread of disease and maintain physical and mental health, Martian settlers are mandated to use several health monitoring devices, such as wearable fitness, blood pressure/oxygenation monitors, and a once-a-day pathogen breathalyzer. All of this data allows for Martian physicians, dieticians, and fitness instructors to create a dynamic fitness and nutrition plan for each individual. The Martian Health System uses Curia’s electronic health platform to analyze health data and prescribe nutrition/fitness plans.

Martian nutritionist Rajesh Shah highlights that “we have the ability to use health data from each individual to see how particular food and exercise affects that colonist on a daily basis. This allows for the entire population to follow tailored fitness and diet plans that maximizes health and productivity. Since virtually all colonists follow their tailored fitness and nutrition programs, colonists often having the physique of amateur athletes on Earth,” 

Nations on Earth have begun efforts to implement similar active health monitoring technologies within their populations, in order to enable an equivalent data driven healthcare model. For example, Denmark was the first country to require the nation’s healthcare recipients to use active health monitoring devices in 2031. The country implemented strict security and regulatory measures using decentralized networks and inscription technologies that are built into EHRs like Curia, to ensure that medical data remains confidential and can only be accessed by individuals in the medical industry. Several other European countries have followed suite in the last decade.

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Martian society views health from a utilitarian perspective.

Although several countries are using active health monitoring technologies and data to revitalize their national health program, there still remains a significant difference in the mindset concerning healthcare between Martians and terrestrials. Martian society views health from a utilitarian perspective, echoing a pre-agricultural, survivalist mindset. Colonists dichotomize food as either sustenance or a hobby. For those who were born and raised on Earth, in an environment where food preferences are primarily driven by choice, the transition to Mars is often difficult.

 Recent settler Martha Whitt says, “sure, changing our food and health mindset to one that is survivalist was difficult. Luckily, we were eased into it during our six-month journey to Mars on the Shuttle. Once you get used to this new mindset, you begin to view food and exercise primarily as sustenance and survival, with some special occasions to treat our tastebuds.”

The Martian survivalist mindset is difficult to cultivate on Earth—especially due to the influence that the modern food industry has on terrestrials in embedding choice, flavor, and excess onto consumer palettes. Nevertheless, some people on Earth have begun to embrace a utilitarian perspective on food and health, as shown by the emergence of companies like MarsGym that provide an environment and community for this new mindset to thrive.

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Dr. Emette-Stork has been a writer for The Martian Passage since 2042. She writes about the Martian healthcare system.