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The colonization of space by mankind is not likely coming anytime soon.

That’s because the human body is not yet able to handle long-haul spaceflights in zero to low gravity, or walking on alien planets, such as Mars – where the lack of a magnetic field makes humans’ fleshy bodies prone to space radiation.

Even so, a research team reported in a new study that the prospects to expand beyond Earth aren’t all gloomy.

“There’s no showstopper,” Christopher Mason, a professor of physiology and biophysics and one of the leaders of the new research told the Washington Post. “But there’s no reason we shouldn’t be able to safely get to Mars and back.”

For their paper, Mason and his colleagues analyzed medical data collected by the Space Omics and Medical Atlas (SOMA). The data trove is considered the most comprehensive medical database that shows what happens to spacefarers when they leave the planet.

Most of the data used derives from the all-civilian Inspiration4 spaceflight mission in 2021, operated by SpaceX. The four-person crew provided extensive biospecimens before, during and after the mission.

The research team then compared this information with medical and biological research on 64 astronauts from NASA.

Looking into gene activity and immune system responses, they came across a series of findings and changes to our bodily constitution – but no “red flags.”

One of the key changes was that telomeres – structures found at the end of chromosomes – elongated after three days in space. The immune system also experienced alterations, with some anti-inflammatory proteins increasing, while virus-fighting anti-gens saw a reduction in numbers, Futurism explained.

But what stood out was the recovery period between genders: Women were able to recover quicker from spaceflight than men, who “appear to be more affected by spaceflight for almost all cell types and metrics,” the team wrote.

The authors cannot explain this phenomenon but they suggested it has to do with physiological stresses and adaptions women experience during pregnancies.

Even so, they added that the analysis could help develop innovative tools and pharmaceuticals to allow humans to explore the final frontier.

Otherwise, some scientists told National Geographic in 2019 that future space missions could be entirely made up of women. They noted that women suffer less from the effects of spaceflight and consume up to 25 percent fewer calories than men.

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