Nasa plans to put humans on Mars by 2030 and has already begun to test the limits of its astronauts.
But we may have to take more drastic steps – including modifications to the body and mind – if we are ever to succeed in visiting our inhospitable neighbour.
And once we arrive on the red planet, its unique environment could force rapid evolutionary changes creating a whole new species, experts claim.
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Electronic devices to enhance the senses and drugs to dull panic and other emotional responses may be needed to successfully complete the trip to Mars.
Any humans who choose to stay and colonise the planet will be faced with other challenges, including the risk of inbreeding.
Colonists may quickly – in scientific terms – evolve into a separate species, with darker skin and thickened bones.
Social problems faced here on Earth, like conflicts, crime and wars, will also need to be addressed.
Cognitive scientist Konrad Szocik at the University of Information Technology and Management in Rzeszow, Poland, believes that preparations being carried out by Nasa come nowhere near to a realistic simulation of the conditions that they will face.
He suggests that electronic devices to enhance the senses and drugs to dull panic and other emotional responses may be needed to successfully complete the trip.
And any humans who choose to stay may evolve into a separate species, according to evolutionary biologist Scott Soloman.