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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The development of carbon nanotubes will allow for the transport of lightweight, but strong materials to Mars. The development of carbon nanotubes will allow for the transport of lightweight, but strong materials to Mars. (Photo: NASA)

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Cutting-edge materials

To fit as much as possible onto its super-heavy lift rockets to Mars, NASA recently established new Space Technology Research Institutes (STRIs) to develop "cutting-edge technologies in bio-manufacturing and space infrastructure."

Over the next several years, the university-led STRIs plan to conceive systems capable of creating fuel, materials and food, as well as advanced building materials made from carbon nanotubes. These cylindrical carbon molecules offer exceptional strength, stiffness, and thermal conductivity in a lightweight package.

Within the next decade, NASA expects the advancements that come out of the STRIs to lay the foundation for the next generation of deep-space rovers, habitats and other Mars colonization technologies.

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