8 high-tech innovations that will put humans on Mars

From interplanetary ships to humanoid robots, these are the technologies that will help establish the first human colony on Mars.

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Potatoes have been called a Mars supercrop for their ability to grow in conditions similar on the planet's harsh surface. Potatoes have been called a Mars supercrop for their ability to grow in conditions similar on the planet's harsh surface. (Photo: United Soybean Board / Flickr/Creative Commons)

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Potatoes

As it turns out, the celebrity status given the humble potato plant in the science fiction thriller "The Martian" was completely justified.

Scientists from the International Potato Center, inspired by the film, wanted to see what would happen if potatoes were grown in an extreme environment similar to conditions on Mars' surface. Using a special CubeSat box, they replicated Mars' atmosphere, air pressure, temperature and day and night cycles. After only a few weeks, they were surprised to see the potatoes growing just as they would on Earth.

"If the crops can tolerate the extreme conditions that we are exposing them to in our CubeSat, they have a good chance to grow on Mars," NASA researcher Julio Valdivia-Silva said.

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