Friday, May 20, 2022
HomeHealth & FitnessMars-Bound Astronauts May Face Danger From Cosmic Rays

Mars-Bound Astronauts May Face Danger From Cosmic Rays


News Picture: Mars-Bound Astronauts May Face Danger From Cosmic Rays

FRIDAY, May 1, 2015 (HealthDay News) — Bad news for anyone hoping to travel to Mars: New research in rodents suggests that exposure to cosmic rays may impair the brain functioning of astronauts on missions to the red planet.

Researchers discovered that exposure to highly energetic charged particles — similar to those in the galactic cosmic rays that astronauts encounter on extended spaceflights — hurt the central nervous system and cause thinking problems in lab animals.

“This is not positive news for astronauts deployed on a two- to three-year round trip to Mars,” said Charles Limoli, a professor of radiation oncology at the University of California, Irvine School of Medicine.

“Performance decrements, memory deficits and loss of awareness and focus during spaceflight may affect mission-critical activities, and exposure to these particles may have long-term adverse consequences to cognition throughout life,” Limoli said in a university news release.

The researchers reached their conclusion by studying rodents exposed to charged particles at a NASA lab. The exposure led to inflammation in the brain and disrupted brain signaling, they said. As a result, the rodents performed worse on tasks requiring learning and memory.

Limoli, working on behalf of NASA’s Human Research Program, is among those investigating how space radiation affects astronauts. Learning how to mitigate those effects is essential to further space exploration, scientists say.

According to Limoli, travelers to Mars would face more trouble than those who work on the International Space Station because they’d face more galactic cosmic rays outside the protective magnetosphere of the Earth.

Spacecraft could be developed with better shielding, although there’s no way to fully escape the cosmic rays, he said. Drug treatments that are under development also might help, he noted.

The study appears in the May 1 issue of Science Advances.

— Randy Dotinga

MedicalNews
Copyright © 2015 HealthDay. All rights reserved.




SLIDESHOW


The 14 Most Common Causes of Fatigue
See Slideshow

References


SOURCE: University of California, Irvine, news release, May 1, 2015



Source link

RELATED ARTICLES

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

- Advertisment -
Google search engine

Most Popular

Recent Comments