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C. What's the Prospect of Sending Humans to Mars?

Narrator: This is Science Today. The thought of sending humans to Mars is no longer limited to science fiction fantasies. In fact, such a feat could possibly take place within the next few decades. But there's a lot to be explored here on Earth first - namely, psychological preparation for such a trip. Nick Kanas, a psychiatrist at the University of California, San Francisco, who has conducted numerous psychological studies of crews for NASA, says a trip to Mars would be a completely different ballgame.

Kanas: We're now talking about a two to three year mission where crewmembers truly are isolated and are going to be needing to take care of themselves more than anyone else has ever done in a space mission.

Narrator: Kanas says the crew would need to handle possible psychotic reactions to such an unprecedented experience as a trip to Mars.

Kanas: And so I think we need to have an ability of the crew in a trip to Mars to take care of themselves as much as possible - not only in terms of the engineering and the medical, but also the psychological and the social.

Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.