Humans are not designed for long stays in space. Long-term physical and mental damage is unavoidable. A new study now offers crucial advice about the safest journeys to Mars.
One recently in Science space climate The published study deals with fundamental aspects of the upcoming manned flights to the Red Planet in a few years. The risks that have already been identified must be clearly identified.
The universe is unhealthy for the human being
Being underweight causes muscle deterioration and may also affect the brain. In addition, radiation in space is harmful to cells. So a reasonably healthy flight is particularly short and well shielded from radiation.
In their study, which has already passed through peer review, researchers from an international team led by Yuri Shpritz of the University of Potsdam and Mikhail Dubendy of Moscow University, with the support of scientists from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and at the University of California, made very specific suggestions about what should look like. To seem to carry out such a journey.
Flight NASA’s last Mars mission seven months. Researchers believe the manned flight will take about nine months. The net time for a trip to Mars and back to Earth is 1.5 years. According to the calculations of scientists, the risk of radiation damage increases significantly only after a four-year journey. Researchers consider a maximum of four years to be acceptable. This would make a research stay on Mars possible, which could cover at least a period of up to 2.5 years.
This is how radiation protection can be achieved
According to the study, important radiological protection can be achieved through complementary measures. On the other hand, you should pay attention to when the actual flight takes place. For this purpose, the researchers calculated that the optimal time point for the start of the flight is the so-called maximum sun. This is the time when the sun reaches its peak activity. The then strong solar winds would reflect the most dangerous particles of galactic cosmic rays (GCR: galactic cosmic rays).
At the same time, solar energy-rich particles (SEP: solar energy particles) can be kept out of the solar maximum by well protecting the outer skin of the spaceship. However, the shielding of the spaceship should not be positioned too heavily, because the GCR can increase the secondary radiation inside the spaceship. This, in turn, will shorten the potential travel time.
Study considers a manned Mars mission with possible measures
The aim of the study was to verify the feasibility of a manned flight to Mars. The research team came to the conclusion that although space radiation imposes severe limitations on such a project and brings with it technological difficulties, it is nonetheless feasible.
However, there is one problem: the maximum sun, which is considered the optimal time for travel, is difficult to predict and, in principle, can be reliably evaluated only six to eight months after its occurrence from Earth. The 11-year period has proven to be what is known as the solar cycle, but it hardly provides any clarity for calculating the maximum solar energy. What we do know for sure is that there was a minimum in 2019 – so the sun is already on its way to its maximum again. According to current calculations, the next solar maximum is expected between 2024 and 2026.
You may also be interested in it
“Total coffee aficionado. Travel buff. Music ninja. Bacon nerd. Beeraholic.”