COULD MARS TRIP DAMAGE ASTRONAUTS’ BRAINS?

Mars trip has been a topic of interest for a long period of time now for astrophysicists and astrobiologists alike. NASA has even been planning to put astronauts on the red planet. But is it safe? What are the consequences? What are the drawbacks and setbacks that astronauts have to face during their journey? We will see these facts in this article.

EXPOSURE TO RADIATION DURING MARS TRIP:

The astronauts will have to travel through a stream of highly energetic particles. They are what we know as Cosmic particles. There is a high probability that these particles can slice through the brains of astronauts. This can really damage their brains. Scientists conducted an experiment on mice that exposed them to radiation. As a result, they observed that radiation exposure caused memory loss and learning problems. This may be an alarming fact for astronauts too. Since the astronauts will travel through space that is outside of the earth’s protective layer, they will definitely be in severe danger. M.Kerry O’Banion, a neuroscientist, describes this as “worrisome, very worrisome” for astronauts. Effect of radiation here https://www.nasa.gov/analogs/nsrl/why-space-radiation-matters/

EFFECT OF MICROGRAVITY ON MARS TRIP:

Microgravity isn’t good at all for human health. Since it makes the body fluid build-up in the head, humans face vision problems. However, there are also risks of cancer and other ailments due to exposure to microgravity. Due to microgravity, muscles and bones can get really weak. So, in order to prevent bone and muscle loss, the astronauts perform the exercise for at least 2 hours. Check here An Astronaut’s Life in Space: Exercise of an astronaut.

HOW CAN COSMIC RAYS AFFECT ASTRONAUTS?

Cosmic rays are created from the explosion of very massive stars outside the solar system. In fact, they are electrically charged particles (protons). They travel at the speed of light (300 million m/s). As a result, when they bombard a spacecraft, they can easily penetrate through the walls of it. Unless there is any shield on the spacecraft, the rays can even penetrate through the astronauts’ body. Hence they can cause some serious damage. This damage can last longer in their body, even after they come back home. However, research also states that it can also harm their decision-making skills and performance of Mars trip. Cosmic Rays- The high-energy protons and atomic nuclei.

LEARNING ABOUT COSMIC RAYS:

Gathering more information and learning more about cosmic rays can resolve some issues. As the astronauts are going to spend at least 1 to 3 years on the journey to and from Mars, they will be heavily exposed to cosmic rays. Therefore, more research about how to prevent cosmic rays from penetrating the spacecraft can actually help scientists and astronauts alike. In fact, researchers have been working on developing anti-radiation suits, medications and artificial gravity suits, etc.  Know more here AN ASTRONAUT’S LIFE IN SPACE STATION 2.

HOW LONG WILL IT TAKE FOR COMMUNICATING WITH THE ASTRONAUTS ON MARS?

If the Moon is “x” distance away from the Earth, Mars would be around 600x. So, it will take at least 20 minutes for light-speed communication to happen. Therefore, the astronauts have to be really prepared both physically and psychologically before signing up for this journey to Mars. Because if something wrong happens, then there will be no one to help them instantly. They will be on their own, stranded at some unknown part of the dark vast space. See here the psychology of space travel PSYCHOLOGY OF SPACE TRAVEL AND HOW IT HAS A BIGGER IMPACT ON DEEP SPACE EXPLORATION.

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