If we look at the history of human evolution, we can see certain patterns arise. Humans have gotten smaller. In the sense of a Neanderthal versus Homo Sapian. Our brains have gotten larger in comparison to body size. This has allowed us to make great advances. Instead of sharpening sticks we learned the art of metallurgy. This led to armor and then firearms. All of these made hunting easier which gave the fledgling humans more free time to pursue other things.
Abstract thought came into play. Philosophy, sciences and mathematics. All of these things let us put mankind into space. We have explored the moon and mapped Mars with satellites. Is the next logical step long term trips into deep space? Until we can break the barrier that is the speed of light, it is impossible for us to make it to another star system. How can we solve this?
I propose that with the current state of technology, you would have to build a ship that was able to grow food and support several generations of humans. The people that left Earth would not be the ones that make it to the next closest star. This means that several generation would have to be born into space.
In keeping with the title of the article, it never stated that the evolution had to take place on Earth itself. Since humans have a need to explore, why wouldn’t space fit into this category? For the last 50 years that has been a goal, even if we are moving at a snails pace, that is where we are headed.
Once you have humans that are being born and raised in a zero gravity or at least a low gravity environment certain things would change. We see this on Earth even now. Things like robots and cell phone technology have made it so we do less manual labor than was done just a few decades ago. People born in a space situation would more than likely use this type of technology even more.
If you don’t need physical brawn to get a job done, eventually the muscles that are needed to deal with Earth’s gravity would change, wither if you will. This may lead to what we consider an “alien” appearance. A large head to encompass a larger brain that is capable of processing increased amount of data needed in space. This is a form of intelligence that just isn’t needed here on our home planet.
Since you don’t have gravity to deal with, over time the arms would elongate. This would enable to reach more controls for the ship that has been home for several generations memory. On that same line of thought, in zero gravity, there is no up or down. Any surface can be the floor. Because of this, we would not really need legs or feet. It is not that much of a stretch to imagine that humans may lose those appendages and develop a second set of arms and hands. This set up would come in very handy in such an environment.
Of course this is all just speculation. Humans have always evolved to deal with new environments. If outer space is the new environment, why not look into this sort of evolution. It is entirely possible.