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Would Humans Be Able to Colonize Mars Without Changing Our DNA?


If humans are ever going to live on Mars as we do on Earth, we might have to become a little less ‘human.” The manned missions to the red planet are scheduled to launch by NASA in the 2030s, unless Bezos or Musk can do it faster. The journey will not be easy or fun for the astronauts. After all, they will have to endure high radiation exposure, microgravity harmful to bones, and other negative effects piling up on their bodies for several years in a row.

According to NASA’s plans, even with the worst possible outcome, the pioneers should still maintain the physical ability to return to Earth. However, those who will remain on Mars forever are a completely different story. Experts think that if people want to live permanently on planet Mars, we will have to make some changes to the genetic code of our species.

According to Kennedy Lynch, an astrobiologist and geomicrobiologist at the Lunar and Planetary Institute in Houston, genetic engineering and other advanced technologies will have to come into play if people want to live, prosper, and start families on Mars. Scientists have already conducted some experiments on the genes of slow-moving animals, famous for their ability to survive in a space vacuum, testing if those are compatible with the human genome. As a result, the altered cells became more resistant to radiation, which is a huge win for this mission. NASA and other space agencies are already working on different ways to protect the well-being of their astronauts, including special shields on the spacecraft. In addition to the futuristic tech, certain pharmacological drugs are being developed. So, according to the scientists, it’s not that big of a leap in logic that in 10-ish years, we’ll see some DNA-changing remedies that will help protect astronauts by altering their genes.

Imagine if there’s no other option and gene-splicing is the only way for our species to move forward and evolve? Maybe after a few hundred years of selective breeding, we will fully adapt to the harsh climate of the Red planet. Genetic engineering is not just about protecting astronauts and colonists. We can make super-soldiers! Just kidding… or am I? Anyway, radiation-proof potatoes and juicy Martian tomatoes sound like things we need to figure out before ever stepping our foot on another planet.

These kinds of experiments can be tested and tweaked in a lab, making it easier for our future colonists to create the right conditions for surviving on an alien planet — all while looking a bit alien-ish on the outside.

So if you could add any animal feature to your body, why would it be cat ears? Let’s discuss!