Even though the efforts to colonize other planets have intensified greatly in the recent years, settling down on Mars is yet far from human reach, and if something, only a dream, according to NASA scientists. Even though the space agency avoids the subject or does not attract attention when it comes to it, there are many risk factors that would prevent humans from surviving on the red planet.One such risk factor that would drastically impact a human’s life span outside the Earth are the GCRs, short for galactic cosmic rays.
These harmful rays represent the particles that are set free into space at incredible speeds following the death of a star.After the explosion, the GCRs packed with iron nuclei spread in every direction at speeds almost as fast as the speed of light and carry the equivalent force of a professional league fastball. Given these circumstances, the human body would not tolerate these fatal radiation doses and would eventually succumb.
The International Space Station Stay vs Life on Mars
Astronauts that have been traveling inside the International Space Station can cope with the small amounts of radiation because they benefit from protection. Mostly because the Earth still has a positive influence and partially shelters them from the GCR radiation. The astronauts who have already experienced the cosmic rays first hand describe them as bursts of light.
However, once a human leaves the safety of the Earth’s atmosphere he automatically subjects himself to large doses of radiation that carry a major negative effect on his health. Although the Space Station is somewhat protected from the GCR radiation, living on Mars or any other planet within our solar system, for that matter would be impossible. Mainly because the risks of developing fatal diseases due to radiation such as cancer would skyrocket.
Life Preserving Measures for Living on Mars
The element that is capable of repelling the harmful rays is water. However, in order to fully insulate a spacecraft, it would take roughly two cubic meters of water. Since one cubic meter weighs approximately 2,200 pounds, carrying this amount of water into space is impossible. Hence, the scientists do not yet have a way of protecting future colonies on Mars from the cosmic radiation.
A scenario in which humans can survive for relatively longer periods of time of Mars would be to live underground. However, this solution is hardly an appealing one. Since living on Mars proves to be impossible, the NASA scientists turn to Titan. This is one of Saturn’s moons that has water particles in its atmosphere. Much like on Earth, these would prevent the harmful radiation from coming into contact with humans. However, Titan is too far away. As a result, scientists at NASA focus on developing faster means for humans to cover large distances in space.
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