Scientists estimate the danger of radiation for astronauts who will fly to Mars

(ORDO NEWS) — In a recent study published in Space Physics, an international team of scientists discuss the effects of solar radiation on astronauts. This question is especially relevant for missions that will go to Mars.

“Exposure to ionizing radiation is one of the main health risks for astronauts during missions to Mars,” said Dr. Dimitra Atri, lead author of the study.

“The flight to Mars will be the main adventure of mankind in the 21st century. It will be very sad if the mission is successful, but the astronauts will earn serious health problems or die due to exposure.

Therefore, we must carefully assess the level of radiation and study its overall impact on human health. It will also help us develop strategies to mitigate the effects of exposure.”

To conduct their study, the scientists used a computer simulation known as Geant4 to calculate how each organ in the human body reacts to exposure to radiation over long periods of time.

Combining data from simulations with dozens of past medical studies, the scientists studied the major effects of ionizing radiation on human physiological systems, including the nervous, immune and skeletal systems, as well as effects on genetic material and cancer risk.

The experts considered a crewed mission to Mars, consisting of 600 days in the flight phase and 400 days on the Martian surface.

They noted that radiation limits set by the European Space Agency, Roscosmos, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency and NASA would be significantly exceeded.

Mitigation strategies include special medical and nutritional practices, active and passive shielding, the use of Martian regolith as a protective material, and the use of lava tubes and caves as potential hiding places on Mars.

Dr. Atri believes that the best strategy to keep total radiation doses low would be to send astronauts to Mars who have received the least amount of radiation exposure over their entire career to reduce the likelihood of long-term health effects of radiation.

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