Space scientists and researchers have found that humans should be able to safely travel to and from Mars, provided that the spacecraft has sufficient shielding and the round trip is shorter than approximately four years.
Sending human travelers to Mars would require scientists and engineers to overcome a range of technological and safety obstacles.
When it comes to sending people to Mars, one of the biggest barriers is the potential effects of the Martian environment on human health, like the grave risk posed by particle radiation from the sun, distant stars and galaxies.
However, a team of researchers from the University of California, Los Angeles have been investigating regarding the amount of radiation that Martian visitors could be exposed to, and they’ve finally found that the radiation levels shouldn’t be unsafe as long as the mission lasts less than four years.
As per their research, there are actually two different types of radiation to content with – Firstly, the energetic particles from the sun and second, the galactic cosmic rays.
Further answering to the two key questions that would help to overcome the issue – Would particle radiation pose too grave a threat to human life throughout a round trip to the red planet? And, could the very timing of a mission to Mars help shield astronauts and the spacecraft from the radiation?
To these the international team of space scientists & researchers answered with a “no” and a “yes.”
That is, humans should be able to safely travel to and from Mars, provided that the spacecraft has sufficient shielding and the round trip is shorter than approximately four years. The researchers also warned by saying that making the shielding too thick would actually be more dangerous as it would increase their exposure to secondary radiation.
And the timing of a human mission to Mars would indeed make a difference. For which, the scientists determined that the best time for a flight to leave Earth would be when solar activity is at its peak, known as the solar maximum. That’s because the sun’s activity can deflect some of the more harmful particles coming from outside the solar system.
Moreover, the research has been published in the journal called “Space Weather.”
Yuri Shprits, a UCLA research geophysicist and co-author of the paper said, “This study shows that while space radiation imposes strict limitations on how heavy the spacecraft can be and the time of launch, and it presents technological difficulties for human missions to Mars, such a mission is viable.”
Furthermore, the scientists are still very much in the early stages of understanding more about the effects of Mars and about the ways to resolve the safe travel issues.