We may need GMOs to survive on Mars

We may need to get over our knee-jerk reaction to GMO crops, as they may be necessary to survive on Mars. The study of genetically modifying organisms so that they can survive on spaceships and other planets is called ‘space synthetic biology’ (1). The harsh conditions on Mars present many challenges when it comes to[…]

The psychological effects of space travel

There are many challenges associated with long-duration space travel. There are factors, other than the technological and physiological obstacles, that will determine whether the trip to Mars is a successful one. There are a number of behavioural issues that could affect crew members during the two- or three-year round-trip to Mars (1). The psychological effects[…]

Colonising planets other than Mars

Right now the goal of SpaceX is to colonise Mars. This is the nearest planet that we could feasibly travel to and inhabit. Soon our technological capabilities will allow us to travel to, and live on, the red planet in a cost-efficient and sustainable way. It will be science fiction made reality (1). But there is[…]

Terraforming Mars: How to live sustainably on the red planet

Terraforming Mars involves changing the surface and climate of the planet to make large areas hospitable to humans. There are many reasons why permanent human habitation on Mars is being planned for: population growth, demand for resources, and runaway climate change. Of course, if and when we terraform Mars, it would be ludicrous to repeat[…]

The problem of menu fatigue during the mission to Mars

‘Menu fatigue’, simply put, is getting bored with what you’re eating, because you’re eating the same food too often. Soldiers in the army have complained about monotonous meals (1). But it’s also a problem for astronauts. Eating ‘space food’ every day for months, or even years, is bound to get boring (2).     Improvements Astronauts today[…]

Will we all be eating insects in the future?

The idea of eating insects can seem a bit unappealing if you’ve been brought up with a Western diet. We do eat them for novelty (1) or inadvertently as food colouring (2). However, insect-eating (known as entomophagy, 3) is common to many cultures across the world. Humans have been eating insects from prehistoric times to the[…]

This group wants to grow not only food on Mars, but cannabis as well

The Mars Farm Odyssey is an international consortium of like minds (1). They are trying to find solutions to space farming, so that food can be grown on Mars. The alternative is shipping food to Mars, which is just not sustainable – it would cost nearly $1bn a year per person. The amount of resources[…]

Facing serious health challenges during the mission to Mars

It takes between 150-300 days to get to Mars (1). The time it takes depends on the speed of the launch, the alignment of Earth and Mars, and how much fuel is used. Regardless of how long it takes, it’s a very, very long journey. And one of the challenges for astronauts is staying healthy.[…]

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