What are the dangers of a trip to Mars?

The astronauts’ journey to Mars is not as easy, comfortable and comfortable as the tourists’ journey to Switzerland, but rather an adventure full of uncertainties and unknown risks. Astronauts on Mars exploration missions will have to contend with pressures such as deep space radiation, microgravity, claustrophobia, and isolation for a long time.


After all, at current technology, it will take at least six months for astronauts to reach Mars, and it will take the same amount of time to return to Earth. Therefore, they must be prepared to overcome physical and psychological challenges. NASA is also working to reduce the risks it could face before sending astronauts to Mars in the 1930s.

Pressure sources “co-operation”

Jennifer Fogerty, chief scientist for NASA’s Human Research Program (HRP), said earlier this month that astronauts “will have to provide everything or more to meet the basic survival needs of astronauts,” nasa’s chief scientist, Jennifer Fogerty, said earlier this month. Because we want them to be qualified for the job, which is highly demanding on both cognitive and physical condition. “

HRP’s mission is to identify the impact of space flight on astronauts and to develop strategies to mitigate and mitigate these effects. Fogerty said the project aims to identify five categories of “pressure sources” that can significantly affect human health and performance during deep space missions, including changes in gravity fields, unfriendly environments, radiation, isolation/restriction, and distance from Earth.

HRP scientists and other researchers around the world are trying to carefully analyze and understand all of these stressors, conducting experiments on Earth to carefully monitor the mental and physical health of astronauts working on the International Space Station (ISS). The long-term goal of the mission is to help with a manned mission to Mars, which NASA hopes to complete by the end of the 1930s. In fact, a few years ago, NASA astronauts Scott Kelly and Mikhail Kornienko spent 11 months on the International Space Station (about twice the usual length of stay) to help researchers assess the impact of very long-term space missions, such as a round trip to Mars, on astronauts.

However, it is difficult to describe exactly how such a trip to Mars would affect astronauts. Because the various pressure sources for space flight are generally not “individual operations” and are likely to be “co-operations,” it is almost impossible to put all the risk factors in an experimental environment, Fogerty said.

For example, scientists conducting radiation studies on animals in the Earth Lab did not take into account the effects of microgravity, which could not be added at this time;

Radiation is the biggest risk.

Some of the stressors are even more worrying – researchers and NASA officials have repeatedly stressed that radiation is one of the most dangerous factors for astronauts on missions to Mars.

“One of the biggest challenges for humans to travel to Mars is the risk of exposure to radiation,” explains Dr. Lisa Simonson, a space radiation element scientist at the HRP project. Long-term exposure to radiation can pose a possible health risk, which is transmitted through living tissue, depositing energy that causes damage to DNA structures and alters many cellular processes. “

Studies have shown that exposure to high levels of radiation increases the risk of cancer in later life. A recent study suggested that astronauts on missions to Mars may be exposed to high doses of radiation, which is enough to damage their central nervous system and affect their mood, memory and learning ability.

Fogerty points to another issue that needs to be focused: aerospace-related neuro-eye syndrome (SANS), also known as visual impairment/intracranial pressure (VIIP). SANS refers to the possibility that space flight can cause severe and long-term vision problems for astronauts, possibly due to fluid flow that increases pressure in the skull.

“At the moment, SANS is very easy to manage and easy to recover in near-Earth orbit, but what we know about the system is not enough to predict whether SANS will remain in that state in some detection missions,” Fogerty said. So this is one of the top physiological areas we’re currently studying. “

Relying on Mars on the Moon

NASA’s current plan is not to go directly to Mars, but to use the moon as a middle ground. By 2024, two astronauts will be allowed to land near the moon’s south pole, and soon after, a long-term sustainable base will be established in and around the moon.

NASA officials say they will carry out these activities through the Artemis program, primarily to learn the skills and techniques needed to send astronauts to Mars. One of the key components of the Altmeis infrastructure is a small lunar orbiting space station, the “gateway”, which will serve as the center of lunar surface activity. Both robotic and manned landers will descend from the “portal” to the surface of the moon, and astronauts on the “portal” outpost will most likely operate the rover from there.

A large number of studies will be conducted in the “portal”, most of which will investigate the health and performance of astronauts in a truly deep space environment. Fogerty points to a research strategy that could be particularly useful in planning the “Mars Path” — studying small samples of human tissue on lunar orbit outposts.

This avoids one of the biggest problems affecting research — using rodents and other non-human animals as models. “How do we build a bridge between rats and humans?” said Fogerty. Because it is not directly applicable, it also plagues land medicine and research. But with the emergence of organs and tissues on chips and the constant validation of them by scientists, you can use these chips to summarize the very complex aspects of the human body. We can really solve the problem of human limitations by using the chip as a model organism and making significant progress in understanding complex environments. “

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