If sci-fi movies have not taught us anything, at least it’s shown us more and more clearly how possible it is to live on other planets espercially Mars.
Now NASA’s plan is to send astronauts to Mars within the next 15-20years, Russia is floating plans to put boots on it and China wants to send people there between 2020 and 2030. There is also SpaceX whose founder is Elon Musk, trying to reduce the cost of spaceflight by planning to establish a permanent Martian colony of 1 million people there.
Unfortuately, It has been discovered after radiation exposure in mice, that going to Mars may be more risky and dangerous than ever imagined.
Although astronauts have always been more exposed to much more radiation than everyone else due to harmful energy that the atmosphere absorbs, that will only be a drop in the ocean compared to what will befall them or anyone to visits Mars, because of its cosmic rays.
Cosmic rays are high-energy radiation, composed primarily of high-energy protons and atomic nuclei, originating from black holes, exploding stars and some other powerful and mysterious origin. These rays can cause damage to DNA and nervous system, impared vision, increased risk of cancer and other health issues. Aside that, Mars according to research had lost its magnetic field billions of years ago, meaning there would be huge amount of radiation for the first set of astronauts or explorers to land there.
Frank Cucinotta and his colleague Eliedonna Cacao who are both health scientists at the University of Nevada in Las Vagas found a risk of cancer in deep space for mice, which was two times higher than previously estimated, and they believe comes down to, how damaged DNA spreads throughout the body.
All these, however would not stop the dream of visiting other planets from coming to pass as Space agencies and private companies are working to manage space radiation. A body vest is being designed by an Israeli startup to absorb radiation fully and NASA scientist came up with an idea of deploying a satallite which would serve as an artificial magnetic shield to divert harmful radiation around Mars.
I have always dreamt of visiting space one day but with all these, i guess i’ll still relax and enjoy the beautiful view of the sunset for now.
Mars is the fourth planet from the Sun and the second-smallest planet in the Solar System, after Mercury. In English, it carries a name of the Roman god of war, and is often referred to as the “Red Planet“ because the reddish iron oxide prevalent on its surface gives it a reddish appearance that is distinctive among the astronomical bodies visible to the naked eye. Mars is a terrestrial planet with a thin atmosphere, having surface features reminiscent both of the impact craters of the Moon and the valleys, deserts, and polar ice caps of Earth.