There has been continued and increasing conversation around the notion that NASA might be able to get a team of astronauts to the Red Planet. As NASA has been talking about the idea of getting human life to Mars to begin studying the planet, different challenges have been coming up – that have required being really looked into. Many of the challenges have been limited to technological limitations that currently exist within our space program, but the greater point here to remember is that technology is catching up in terms of creating a space craft, and the method for astronauts to get there.
The problem is really defining what toll that might take on the astronauts themselves. Granted, they will be assuming a lot of risk going to Mars on this type of trip, but ultimately what we’re talking about is a combination of time-factors, as well as medical factors. Conversations have been had about technology that would allow the human body to go into dormant phases periodically throughout the trip to Mars, but the impacts now that the radiation in space would have – seems to be the biggest concern.
The most recent study which reveals how severe the radiation problem could be was conducted by the University of California and published in the journal Science Advances. Dr Charles Limoli of the Univeristy of California Irvine said that some of the potential issues with the human mind, and this type of travel could include “Performance decrements, memory deficits, and loss of awareness and focus during spaceflight may affect mission-critical activities.” He went on to point out that, “Exposure to these particles may have long-term adverse consequences to cognition throughout life.”
The team closed by pointing out that this was something that is potentially going to be seeing a solution in the coming years. While the technology and medical science isn’t quite there yet – researchers contend that changes are coming that will give them the ability to make this trip. Limoli closed by pointing out that, “We are working on pharmacologic strategies involving compounds that scavenge free radicals and protect neurotransmission.” A trip to Mars might not be in the immediate future, but in the long-term, it will certainly be coming to fruition.