Researchers in USA have discovered that astronauts who are going to be sent to Mars, could suffer brain damages like elevated anxiety, memory deficits and loss of awareness. NASA researchers exposed mice at energy levels similar to those found in cosmic galactic rays. This confirmed that rays make damages in the animal’s nervous system.
Mars One group is planning a mission to the Red Planet in the 20’s, but researchers of Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have said that they disagree because there are not enough technologies to keep astronauts alive there.
NASA’s mice were put in a sheet with oxygen and titanium at high levels of energy like in the outer space. This exposition let mice with a brain inflammation which affected in how signals travel through theirs neurons.
Six weeks later, the animals had fewer dendritic synapses, which are used for transmit electrochemical signals. Particles which mice were exposed at, hit the dendritic synapses, so similar effects of neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer appeared.
Next step of the experiment was the mice introduction in closed spaces with toys. When researchers changed toy’s position, affected mice were easily distracted. Data shown us the probability of develop brain deficits after a radioactive exposition. This damages could be seen after a long time, but its appearance is inevitable in a long mission.
Latest studies are based on teach and work with the animals before its radioactive particles’ exposition and researchers are planning to introduce cosmic rays’ protection in spacial naves or create new brain medication. However, this only would reduce the problem, because it is not possible to avoid this radiations.
In this article there are two original sources. One for the MIT experiment against Mars One and another for NASA experiment.
MIT article says that there is not the enough technology yet to land in Mars. They say that if astronauts want to survive by eating local crops, as Mars One expect, the vegetation would produce high levels of oxygen that astronauts could not tolerate. They think that should exist a mechanism to reduce oxygen excess, and this not exist yet.
In the original article of Advanced Science that remit to NASA experiment, they say why cosmic rays are inevitable. Exposure to these energetic particles is inevitable because these particles travelling near the speed of light will traverse the hull of any spacecraft and tissue, and although strategies for increasing shielding (internally or via hull thickness) have been considered, they are offset by the practical limitations associated with the cost of sending increased payloads into space.
I have chosen this article because I’m interested in why Human has not landed in Mars yet. I thought that we had already the perfect technology to fly there, but by reading this new and its data, I can understand the difficulties to carry out with the travel.