While Professor Brian Cox has predicted that humans will colonize Mars in the very near future, he warns that it may not be the dream habitat that many are envisioning. In fact, he suggests that even with us living in cities there within the next 50 to 100 years, it will probably still be "a really sh*t place to be."
Brian Cox believes that humans will almost certainly be landing on Mars within the next 10 years, but in his own personal opinion believes that the "barren rock" of the Red Planet will never come close to eclipsing the beauty of our own "wonderful, beautiful" planet Earth, as the Daily Mail report.
Professor Brian Cox has recently published another book with physicist Jeff Forshaw called Universal: A Journey Through the Cosmos, and believes that humans will eventually have colonies that stretch far beyond Earth and out onto other planets, including Mars. But he has warned that this will probably be done strictly out of necessity so that the human race will continue to carry on.
There is one proviso to this, however. Humankind will need to find a way to survive over the coming years and not destroy itself if it is to achieve its vision of starting colonies on Mars and other planets.
When Brian Cox spoke with the Irish Times, he stressed how crucial the next couple of decades are to the survival of mankind.
"We are almost at a decision point in our civilization that for the first time we have the technology and the will to turn ourselves into a multi-planet civilization. That's if we don't have a big political setback or we don't destroy ourselves in a nuclear war. If we don't do that within the next 20 years, I say we will have got over that hurdle and humanity may exist for the foreseeable future – even forever, if we get through these next few decades."
"Honestly, as everybody knows, the first people who go to Mars are going to be pioneers. It's going to be very difficult and a bit like the Pilgrims sailing to the New World so you need a particular kind of person who really wants to live on the frontier. I don't think it will be for families. It will be more for individuals. But in 20 or 40 years, after those first people have colonized it, it will be a lot easier. It probably won't be for the next one or two generations before families will go there. People who are in their teens could be the the first people to live on Mars."
One of the difficulties that new settlers on Mars will need to learn to deal with will be high levels of radiation, as Brian Cox notes. Because life on the Red Planet will be so different from that on Earth, Polish scientists believe that it is theoretically possible that the first colonists on Mars may eventually even develop into a separate species.
Research by these scientists earlier in the year found that one change that may occur with this new species is that they may have much darker skin after consuming yellow and orange foods such as squash and carrots which are full of carotenoid pigments. Another change that may occur could be the thinning of bones to combat the lower levels of gravity on Mars.
Whatever the future may bring, Professor Brian Cox believes that scientific progress is inevitable and that humans will one day be gazing wistfully at Earth from their new home on Mars.
[Featured Image by Nicky J Sims/Getty Images]