Future settlers on Mars will be permanently confined to their life support suits, scientists have warned.
Dreams of being able to artificially warm the atmosphere to allow it to support human life – a process known as 'terraforming' – will remain confined in the realm of science-fiction, according to a new study.
There is not enough carbon dioxide on the red planet for future colonies to alter warm the atmosphere to make it closer to that on Earth, a study has found.
As a result, Mars will always be too cold for humans to ever survive without the help of their space suits.
Scientists said mankind can no longer think of Mars as a 'safety valve' in case things go wrong on our planet.
They called for humanity to address and respond to Earth's most pressing problems, as this is in effect an easier solution than colonising a distant world.
The researchers, from the University of Colorado Boulder and Northern Arizona University, looked at 20 years' worth of data about the Martian surface collected by various rovers and spacecrafts.
This information was used to calculate how much carbon dioxide is stored on Mars – a crucial factor in determining whether humanity has a chance of 'terraforming' the surface red planet.
Terraforming is the process of artificially changing the climate and surface of a planet to enable humans to exist without life support systems.