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Author Topic: High radiation, low gravitation: The perils of a trip to Mars  (Read 257016 times)

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Back in May, SpaceX launched its Starship SN15 prototype to about the cruising altitude of a commercial airliner before landing it safely. The company claims future pg versions of the rocket will be able to take 100 passengers at a time to the moon, and even Mars.


But while it's one thing to send a rocket to Mars, it's another to send people there alive. And it's yet another thing to make sure the people can be as healthy as they were when they left Earth.


Besides packing enough fuel and air and water and food for the seven-month-long journey to Mars (and more for a return trip if you want a return ticket), there are other luxuries we enjoy here on Earth that the spaceship will have to provide if we want to stay healthy during the long flight.


Nasty sunburns and zero gravity
Earth's atmosphere and magnetic field protect us from harmful space radiation, but passengers bound for Mars will lose that protection. So, their spaceship would need to provide some kind of radiation shielding.


Depending on where radiation comes from, it may be made of different particles and have different energies, which would require different means of shielding and pose different levels of danger to our radiation-prone DNA. For example, radiations from energetic particles ejected from the sun behave very differently than cosmic rays from outside our galaxy.