While space agencies such as NASA and private space companies such as SpaceX are busy planning missions to Mars, a scientist who was the principal investigator on NASA's "twin project" to study the effects of space travel on the human body has spoken about the need to modify human DNA to prepare the species for long space missions.

Chris Mason, a geneticist at Cornell University in New York, feels that adapting our biology to cope with the severe temperatures on Mars and other distant worlds is very vital. Mason has previously experimented with modifying human DNA in preparation for future space missions.

Mason used DNA from the nearly unkillable tardigrade to develop a hybrid superhuman cell during his studies. It's worth noting that tardigrades are the most resilient animals known, capable of surviving in nearly any adverse environment.

During his investigation, Mason came across a gene known as Dsup. Dsup is in charge of shielding DNA from the effects of lengthy space travel.

"In my lab, we've now permanently integrated Dsup into a human genome and a new cell line in our lab. We can get up to 80 percent reduction in DNA damage compared with unmodified cells when we fire heavy radiation at these cells," Mason told the New Scientist

Mason is convinced that humans have the potential to adapt to various surroundings when necessary, and he believes that genetic alteration could help make this possible.

Elon Musk said during last year's Humans to Mars summit that a human expedition to Mars could be difficult, and that it could even result in the death of Earthlings on the Red Planet.

"I want to emphasize that this is a very hard and dangerous difficult thing. Not for the faint of heart. Good chance you'll die, it's going to be tough going, but it will be pretty glorious if it works out," Musk told CNBC.

Samantha Rolfe, a well-known astrobiologist, previously stated that a human expedition to Mars could be suicidal. Rolfe cautioned that space agencies may be endangering astronauts' lives by exposing them to space radiation, which can harm passengers' health.

halgatewood-com-OgvqXGL7XO4-unsplash Representational image HalGatewood.com on Unsplash