Human bodies and minds may need to be enhanced to make them suitable for colonising Mars, say experts who argue that there are so many aspects to living on the red planet that it is nearly impossible to predict the effects using Earth simulations.
An awareness of the one-way journey and all possible dangers cannot be simulated on the International Space Station (ISS), or even in Antarctica, one of the most remote places on Earth and a frequently cited zone in space analogue studies, researchers said.
"We can not simulate the same physical and environmental conditions to reconstruct the martian environment, I mean such traits like martian microgravitation or radiation exposure," said Konrad Szocik, a cognitive scientist at the University of Information Technology and Management in Poland.
"Consequently, we cannot predict physical and biological effects of humans living on Mars," said Szocik.
He argued that it may be necessary to modify people's bodies and minds ahead of journeying to Mars.
Electronically enhancing the human senses or prescribing medication might help diminish emotional reactions in a moment a crisis, Szocik said.
While most discussions of colonies focus on the technological or financial challenges of constructing and maintaining a Mars colony, there has been less study of the social aspects of putting people within a martian colony.
"Group problems affect many challenges and troubles, and we should consider now how we can prevent such typical human problems like conflicts, wars, cheating, etc," Szocik was quoted as saying by the 'Seeker'.
Szocik is also concerned about reproduction on Mars, which not only needs a technological and medical support system, but a large enough colony to avoid the risk of inbreeding. He suggests a population of at least 500 adults on the surface.
Medical officials should consider how to reduce the likely mortality rate from disease, possible technological failures and radiation from the martian environment, among other factors, he said.
The study was published journal Space Policy. — PTI