Is Flying to Mars Safe for Humans?


Sending humans to Mars requires ways to overcome technological and safety barriers, including the enormous risks posed by particle radiation from the Sun, stars, and galaxies. Is it safe for humans to fly to Mars?

In an article published in the peer-reviewed journal Space Weather, an international team of space scientists, including researchers from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), answered the two questions with a “no” and a “yes.”

That is, humans must be able to travel to and from Mars safely, provided the spacecraft has sufficient cover and the round trip is shorter than about four years.

The timing of the human mission to Mars will indeed make a difference. Scientists determined that the best time for a flight to leave Earth is when solar activity reaches its peak, known as the solar maximum.

Quoted from Science Daily, scientists’ calculations show that it is possible to protect the spacecraft from solar energy particles because during solar maximums, the most dangerous and energetic particles from distant galaxies are deflected by increased solar activity.

Then, the average flight to Mars takes about nine months, so it depends on launch time and available fuel. It stands to reason that a human mission could reach this planet and return to Earth in less than two years.

“This study shows that while space radiation imposes strict limits on how heavy the craft and launch time can be, and it presents technological difficulties for human missions to Mars, such missions are feasible,” said Yuri Shprits, a UCLA geophysicist and co-author of the study. this.

To be safe, the researchers recommend missions to Mars no longer than four years because longer trips would expose astronauts to dangerously high amounts of radiation during the round trip. They also warn that the main danger of such flights is particles from outside our solar system.

Shprits and colleagues from UCLA, MIT, the Institute of Science and the Skolkovo Institute of Science and Technology, Moscow and GFZ Potsdam combined a geophysical model of particle radiation for the solar cycle with a model of how radiation would affect human passengers, including its varied effects on organs and spacecraft. .

Modeling determined that having the spacecraft shell constructed of relatively thick material could help protect astronauts from radiation. But if the shield is too thick, it will increase the amount of secondary radiation they encounter.

The two main types of harmful radiation in space are energy particles Sun and galactic cosmic rays. The intensity of each depends on the activity of the sun.

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