Study reveals deadly health risks of space; Mars hopes dashed
CNN – Astronauts may not be able to stomach long voyages into space – literally.
A new NASA-funded study reveals that exposure to space radiation on long trips, like a voyage to Mars, could permanently harm astronauts’ intestines and lead to stomach and colon cancer.
“While short trips, like the times astronauts traveled to the moon, may not expose them to this level of damage, the real concern is lasting injury from a long trip,” said Kamal Datta, head of Georgetown’s NASA Specialized Center of Research, in a press release.
Datta added that a mission to Mars would be much longer than a trip to the moon, which takes about three days. Journeying to Mars could take nine months.
The researchers say a big concern is that no medicines have been developed yet to reverse permanent organ damage caused by radiation.
And preventing the radiation exposure in the first place is also difficult.
“We have documented the effects of deep space radiation on some vital organs, but we believe that similar damage responses may occur in many (other) organs,” Datta said. Read more.
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