Listen Live
    Earth and Mars

    Scientists Join Efforts, Declare War on Radiation in Space

    CC0 / Pixabay
    Get short URL

    Researchers from across the globe are joining forces to develop methods to protect astronauts from harmful radiation in space and make a trip to Mars possible.

    Leading space biologists and medical specialists from Russia, the US, Canada and other countries are working on a strategy aimed at mitigating the risks of radiation exposure during deep space exploration, according to a study published earlier this month in the journal Oncotarget.

    High levels of radiation are considered one of the main obstacles on humans' path to launching manned flights to Mars or elsewhere in space.

    Using the Radiation Assessment Detector (RAD) aboard the Mars Science Laboratory's Curiosity rover, scientists made detailed measurements of the absorbed dose and dose equivalent from cosmic rays and solar energetic particles on the surface of the Red Planet. They found that a mission consisting of a 180-day cruise to Mars, a 500-day stay on Mars and a 180-day return flight to Earth would expose astronauts to a cumulative radiation dose of about 1.01 sieverts.

    NASA sets a limit on the amount of radiation an astronaut can be exposed to during their career.

    READ MORE: 8 Amazing Facts About Valentina Tereshkova, World's First Woman in Space

    "Obviously, longer missions would not be acceptable for human in terms of cancer risk under current radioprotection guidelines," the study said.

    Today, scientists from NASA, the Institute of Biomedical Problems at the Russian Academy of Sciences and other institutions from across the globe are addressing the issue by analyzing the effects of radiation on the brain and bodily organs of humans and various animal species and developing methods of protecting them.

    According to Alexander Zhavoronkov, a professor at the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology, what hinders the work is that the scientific community lacks a unified research strategy that would help combine efforts and jointly find a solution to "making humanity a multi-planetary species, as Elon Musk put it in the journal New Space in 2016.

    READ MORE: China Tests Reusable Hypersonic Spacecraft With Military, Civilian Applications

    "In this article we offer a methodology of reaching a stronger radioresistance," Zhavoronkov said, according to RIA Novosti, "While working on the strategy, we brought together leading scientists from Russia, NASA, The European Space Agency, the Radiation Safety Institute of Canada and more than 25 other institutions globally."

    One of the methods the scientists are looking into is hibernation. By decreasing a person's metabolic rate and vital bodily processes, the study states that there is "potential to greatly reduce, if not fully eliminate, the radiation-associated risks" of deep space missions.

    Other methods suggested in the paper include prescribing astronauts drugs, such as amifostine, that protect against and treat radiation toxicity or using regenerative medicine to eliminate and substitute radiation-damaged cells.


    US SpaceX Rocket Lifts Spanish Satellite to Orbit (VIDEO)
    Euphoria for Eyes: WATCH SpaceX Launch Captured From Space
    US-Made Falcon 9 Rocket Lifts Spain Radar-Imaging Satellite into Orbit -SpaceX
    astronauts, radiation, Russian Academy of Sciences, NASA, Mars, space
    Community standardsDiscussion
    Comment via FacebookComment via Sputnik