Human Adaptation and Permanent Human Space Settlement

  • Cameron M. SmithEmail author
Part of the Space and Society book series (SPSO)


Chapters  2 and  3 have shown us aspects of biological adaptation necessary to consider in the project of human space settlement, while in Chaps.  4 and  5 we have examined some cultural aspects of such a project. In those chapters we were introduced to humanity’s adaptive range and capacities, and some of the tools of human adaptation, from genes to complex behavior including culture and technology. Chapter  6 gave us some examples of the use of tools in humanity’s deep past, showing that they are not unusual but should be considered entirely common and ‘natural’ to use. In this chapter we sharpen focus on these tools, refining our concepts as needed, to arrive at a practical, preliminary set of cultural and biological adaptive variables we deem to be necessary for human biocultural survival and sufficient to sustain it in environments beyond Earth. These tools may be thought of as the minimum adaptive toolkit of our species, significantly and informatively analogous to the HOX gene family common to all multicellular animal life. In these ways this chapter establishes a minimum set of adaptive tools for space settlement that may be studied as part of space anthropology and applied to the adaptive programme of space settlement established throughout this book.


  1. Aberle, D. F. (1961). Matrilineal descent in cross-cultural perspective. Matrilineal Kinship, 1961, 655–727.Google Scholar
  2. Acharya, N., et al. (2002). Getting there and staying there: supporting and enabling persistent human life on Mars using synthetic natural rubber, self-healing materials, and biological batteries. BioRxiv article at doi:
  3. Alland, A. (1970). Adaptation and cultural evolution: An approach to medical anthropology. New York: Columbia University Press.Google Scholar
  4. Andres-Ena, C., & Sipper, M. (2017). Evolutionary computing in medicine: An overview. Artificial Intelligence in Medicine, 19(1), 1–23. Scholar
  5. Bainbridge, W. S. (2018). Computer simulations of space societies. New York: Springer.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Brown, D. E. (1991). Human universals. New York: McGraw-Hill.Google Scholar
  7. Brown, J. P. (2016). The effect of automation on human factors in aviation. Journal of Instrumentation, Automation and Systems, 3(2), 31–46.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Bruhns, S., & Misra, J. H. (2016). A pragmatic approach to sovergnity on mars. Space Poilicy, 38, 57–63. Scholar
  9. Burridge, J. (2017). Spatial evolution of human dialects. Physical Review X, 7, 031008. Scholar
  10. Carroll, J. (2004). Literary darwinism: Evolution, human nature and literature. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  11. Cohen, R. L. (ed). (1986). Justice: a view from the social sciences. New York: Plenum Press.Google Scholar
  12. Cohen, Y. (1968). Culture as adaptation. In Y. Cohen, (Ed.) Man in adaptation: The cultural present (pp. 40–60). Chicago: Aldine.Google Scholar
  13. Colby, A., et al. (1983). A longitudinal study of moral judgement. In Monographs of the society for research in child development (Vol. 48(1/2), pp. 1–124).
  14. Corballis, M. R. (2009). The evolution of language. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences 1156, 19–43 (2009). Scholar
  15. Cosmides, L., & Tooby, J. (1992). Cognitive adaptations for social exchange. In J. H., Barkow, L., Cosmides, & Tooby, J. (Eds.), The adapted mind: Evolutionary psychology and the generation of culture (pp. 163–228). New York and Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  16. Davidsson, P. (2002). Agent based social simulation: A computer science view. Journal of Artificial Societies and Social Simulation 5(1). See
  17. DeJong, G. F. (1972). Patterns of human fertility and morality. In G. A. Harrison, & A. J. Boyce (Eds.), 1972. The structure of human populations (pp. 32–56). Oxford: Clarendon Press.Google Scholar
  18. Dimmendaal, G. J. (2002). Language ecology and linguistic diversity on the african continent. Language and Linguistics Compass, 2(5), 840–858. Scholar
  19. Dissanayake, E. (2008). The arts after darwin: Does art have an origin and adaptive function? In K. Sijlmans, & vanDamme, W. (Eds.), 2008. World art studies: Exploring concepts and approaches (pp. 241–263). Valiz, Amsterdam.Google Scholar
  20. Durham, W. H. (1991). Coevolution: Genes, culture and human diversity. Stanford: Stanford University Press.Google Scholar
  21. Edgerton, R. B. (2010). Sick societies: Challenging the myth of primitive harmony. New York: Simon and Schuster.Google Scholar
  22. Eriksen, T. H., & Nielsen, F. S. (2013). A history of anthropology. New York: Palgrave McMillan.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Fitch, W. T. (2005). The evolution of music in comparative perspective. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 1060, 1–21. Scholar
  24. Flinn, M. V. (2011). Evolutionary anthropology of the human family. In C. Salmon, & T. K. Shackleford (Eds.), 2011. Oxford library of psychology. The oxford handbook of evolutionary family psychology (pp. 12–32). Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  25. Fried, M. N., & Fried, M. H. (1980). Transitions: Four rituals in eight cultures. New York: W.W. Norton & Co.Google Scholar
  26. Gabora, L., & Smith, C. M. (2018). Two cognitive transitions underlying the capacity for cultural evolution. Journal of Anthropological Sciences, 96, 1–26.Google Scholar
  27. Engineering, Genetic. (2017). Moral aspects and control of practice. Journal of Assited Reproductive Gentics, 14(6), 297–316.Google Scholar
  28. Handy, C. (1993). Understanding organizations. Oxfords: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  29. Hård af Segerstad, Y. (2003). Use and adaptation of written language to the conditions of computer-mediated communication (Unpublished PhD thesis). University of Gothenberg.Google Scholar
  30. Hastorf, C. (1999). Food and identity. Find full reference.Google Scholar
  31. Hawkins, F. H. (1993). Human factors in flight. London: Taylor and Francis.Google Scholar
  32. Herskovitz, M. (1964). Cultural anthropology. New York: Alfred Knopf.Google Scholar
  33. Hostetler, J. A., & Huntington, G. E. (1967). Hutterites in North America. New York: Holt, Rinehart, Winston.Google Scholar
  34. Kato, S., & Ahern, J. (2008). ‘Learning by doing’: Adaptive planning as a strategy to address uncertainty in planning. Journal of Environmental Planning and Management, 51(4), 543–559.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Keightley, A. (2004). Human factors study guide. Palmerston North: Massey University.Google Scholar
  36. Kelly, R. L. (1996). The foraging spectrum. San Diego: Kluwer.Google Scholar
  37. Kemmer, D., Anderson, A. S., & Marshall, D. W. (1998). Living together and eating together: Changes in food choice and eating habits during the transition from single to married/cohabiting. The Sociological Review, 46(1), 48–72. Scholar
  38. Kendon, A. (2004). Gesture: Visible action as utterance. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Kinnier, R. T., Kernes, J. L., & Datheribes, T. M. (2000). A short list of universal moral values. Counseling and Values, 45, 4–16.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Lankester, E. R. (1915). Diversions of a naturalist. New York: MacMillan.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Lindgren, K., et al. (2009). The skylab medical operations project: Recommendations to improve crew health and performance for future exploration missions. Online at
  42. Linton, R. (1961). The tree of culture. New York: Alfred Knopf.Google Scholar
  43. Lohn, J. D., Hornby, G. S., & Linden, D. S. (2005). An evolved antenna for deployment on Nasa’s space technology 5 mission. In U.M. O’Reilly, T. Yu, R. Riolo, & Worzel, B. (Eds.) 2005. Genetic programming theory and practice II. Genetic Programming (Vol. 8). Boston, MA: Springer.Google Scholar
  44. Malina, F. J. (1970). On the visual fine arts in the space age. Leonardo, 3, 323–325.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. May, R. M. (1990). How many species? Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London. Series B: Biological Sciences, 330, 293–304.ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. McCarthy, K. F., Brooks, A., Lowell, J., & Zakaras, L. (2001). The performing ARts in a new era. Santa Monica, California: RAND.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Meiklejohn, A. (1961). The first amendment is an absolute. Supreme Court Review, 245, 257.Google Scholar
  48. Moran, E. F. (1979). Human adaptability: An introduction to ecological anthropology. North Sciutate, Massachusetts: Duxbury Press.Google Scholar
  49. Mufwene, S. S. (2004). The ecology of language evolution. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  50. Nettle, D. (1999). Is the rate of language change constant? Lingua, 108, 119–136.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Newberry, M. G., Ahern, C. A., Clark, R., & Plotkin, J. B. (2017). Detecting evolutionary forces in language change. Nature, 551, 223–226. Scholar
  52. Odling-Smee, F. J., Laland, K. N., & Feldman, M. W. (2003). Niche construction: The neglected process of evolution. Monographs in Biology #3, New Jersey: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  53. Parsons, T. 1991[1951]. The Social System. London, Routledge.Google Scholar
  54. Percino, G., Klimek, P., & Thurner, S. (2014). Instrumentational complexity of music genres and why simplicity sells. PLOS One:
  55. Popenoe, D. (2009). Cohabitation, marriage and child wellbeing: A cross-national perspective. Social Science and Public Policy, 46, 429–436. Scholar
  56. Radcliffe-Brown, A. R. N. (1952). Structure and function in primitive society. Glencoe: The Free Press.Google Scholar
  57. Rappaport, R. (1999). Ritual and Religion in the Making of Humanity. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  58. Reyes-Garcia, V., et al. (2016). Multilevel processes and cultural adaptations: Examples from past and present small-scale societies. Ecology and Society 21(4), 2.
  59. Saroglou, V. (2011). Believing, bonding, behaving and belonging. Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology, 48(2), 1320–1340.MathSciNetCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Satterlee, J. (1993). The hutterites: A study in cultural diversity. Bulletins of The South Dakota Stte University Agricultural Experiment Station, Paper 721. Online at
  61. Shaarani, A. S., & Romano, D. (2007). Perception of Emotions from static postures. In Proceedings of Affective Computing and Intelligent Interaction, Second International Conference, ACII 2007, Lisbon, Portugal, September 12–14 (2007).
  62. Sipper, M., Olson, R. S., & Moore, J. H. (2017). Evolutionary computation: The next major transition of artificial intelligence? BioData mining 10(26).
  63. Smith, C. M., Gabora, L., & Gardner-O’Kearney, W. (2018). The extended evolutionary synthesis facilitates evolutionary models of culture change. Cliodynamics.Google Scholar
  64. Staats, K. (2016). Genetic programming applied to RFI mitigation in radio astronomy. Master of science thesis, Department of Applied Mathematics, University of Cape Town. Online at
  65. Temperley, D. (2004). Communicative pressure and the evolution of musical styles. Music Perception: An Interdisciplinary Journal  21(3), 313–333.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  66. Tyre, A., & Michaels, S. (2010). Confronting socially generated uncertainty in adaptive management. Journal of Environmental Management, 92, 1365–1370. Scholar
  67. Williams, B. K., Szaro, R., & Shapiro, C. D. (2009). Adaptive management: The U.S. department of the interior technical guide. Washington, D.C: US Government Printing Office. Online at
  68. Wotring, V. E. (2017). Fertility Challenges on Spaceflight Missions. Paper presented at the 2017 College of Reproductive Biology Symposium. See

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of AnthropologyPortland State UniversityPortlandUSA

Personalised recommendations