Before Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos and other space enthusiasts can ship humans to Mars as easily as an Amazon Prime delivery, we need to figure out they will fare on a foreign planet. Luckily, NASA and the University of Hawaii have been all over this, funding several successful iterations of an experiment called Hawaii Space Exploration Analogue and Simulation (HI-SEAS), in which a crew of "astronauts" live in Mars-like conditions in a dome on a Hawaiian volcano. On Sunday, the fifth Hi-SEAS endeavour ended, meaning a crew of six "astronauts" have left the comfort of a literal bubble to greet the fresh hell that is Earth right now.
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Lots of people really want to go to Mars. Some of them want to live on that barren litter box forever, which sounds exciting, but would probably suck. The thing about a Martian colony is that people would have to be able to reproduce there in order to keep it going -- and luckily for those hopeful pioneers, a team of Japanese scientists have achieved an important first step toward making their pipe dream a reality.