A number of scientists say that boredom is one of the biggest threats to a manned Mars mission, despite the thrill inherent in visiting another planet. But because of the causes of chronic boredom, scientists say, research facilities in Antarctica might actually provide a better simulation of the stress of a journey to Mars. Most living things constantly seek out sensory stimulation — new smells, tastes, sights, sounds or experiences. Even single-celled amoebas will move to investigate new sources of light or heat, says Sheryl Bishop, who studies human performance in extreme environments at UTMB. Without proper mental stimulus, we risk making a physically and technologically challenging endeavor into a psychologically grueling one.