The paper also examines the inherent challenges of bolstering the numbers of a small colony of settlers on the planet. The concept of “love” might have to take a back seat to pure survival, with men and women being paired up by their biology rather than emotion. Additionally, some individuals may never be allowed to have children due to undesirable traits that are a risk to the colony as a whole.
In a somewhat scary aside, the researchers also note that editing the genes of future Mars babies might be an easy way to increase the prospects of survival. Pushing out bad traits and optimizing a human for life on Mars could give us a big edge, but as generations pass it would also result in a new kind of human — one who is fine on Mars but could never live a normal life here on Earth.