Could You Engineer Yourself To Live Underwater?

Hey there and welcome to Life Noggin. Why can’t humans live underwater? With everyone focusing on colonizing other
worlds, maybe we could colonize other parts of the one we already have! Could we engineer ourselves to live in the
ocean? Let’s find out… and hopefully avoid anything
hiding deep in the ocean. So why can’t humans breathe underwater? Well, human respiratory systems were designed
to get oxygen from air, which we need to live. Oxygen from the air you inhale makes its way
through your body, eventually being absorbed by your blood. Your heart then pumps that blood throughout
your body to provide that oxygen to the cells of your tissues and organs. Carbon dioxide is produced and absorbed into
your blood as the cells use the oxygen. This carbon dioxide is then eventually removed
from the body as you exhale. But the air people breathe isn’t just oxygen. In fact, the chemical makeup of the air you
breathe is only about 21 percent oxygen. Since water is H20, a combination of hydrogen
and oxygen, can’t we get oxygen from water then too? Unfortunately, no. To get oxygen underwater, we’d probably
need to have gills like a fish. However, even the primary source of oxygen
that fish get is not from the oxygen in H2O, but from microscopic bubbles of dissolved
oxygen in the water. Many different gases can dissolve in liquids,
which you can see when you open up your favorite can of carbonated beverage! Fish extract dissolved oxygen out of the water
using their gills. Their gills are designed to utilize that dissolved
oxygen in water, which is found in far lower concentrations than in air. Also, if humans could be engineered to have
gills, they might also need to take in more oxygen with their gills than fish to survive
for a long time. While there would probably be other things
to take into account, like a change in diet and pressure differences, breathing underwater
is one of the biggest obstacles we’d have to overcome to engineer ourselves to live
underwater. We could maybe solve that problem if we could
make humans with gills, or we could potentially still live in the water if we could hold our
breaths for significantly longer durations. This is the case with animals like dolphins
and whales, who still get their oxygen from air like people do. It would also be good if we could travel faster
in the water as well. Researchers have found that the average sprinting
speeds among swimmers is about 1.64 meters per second, or about 3.7 watery miles per
hour. However, even this speed is unlikely to be
sustained over long distances. To put that in perspective, Tuna can swim
as fast as 50 miles per hour for short bursts and typically move at about 5-10 miles per
hour for sustained periods of travel. While their fins sure do help them swim, fish
often use their fins more for /stabilization/. In many fishy cases, it’s actually muscles
on the sides of their body contracting that cause their tail to whip very rapidly from
side to side, giving fish their speed. I bet some of Arthur Curry’s friends know
a thing or two about that! So you think people will ever be able to live
underwater? Let me know in those comments! Make sure you come back every Monday for a
brand new video. As always, I’m Blocko and this has been
Life Noggin. Don’t forget to keep on thinking!

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