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Home https://server7.kproxy.com/servlet/redirect.srv/sruj/smyrwpoii/p2/ Science https://server7.kproxy.com/servlet/redirect.srv/sruj/smyrwpoii/p2/ A trip to Mars can cause brain damage. This is how NASA aims to protect astronauts.

A trip to Mars can cause brain damage. This is how NASA aims to protect astronauts.



During the space year of Scott Kelly, the astronaut was mercilessly shut down by radiation – the equivalent of 10 chest x-rays a day for more than 11 months, beginning in March 2015. The attack damaged Kelly's DNA and affected his immune system while increasing his risk of cancer. And Kelly was aboard the International Space Station, whose dense orbit around Earth is in the magnetic field that surrounds our planet and blocks the most harmful forms of radiation.

Astronauts traveling to Mars or other deep space destinations will leave Earth's cocoon for months or years at a time. And a new NASA-funded study suggests that chronic radiation exposure can damage the minds of astronauts and their bodies, potentially affecting the mood of space leaflets and even their ability to think.

This can be a big deal.

"The nature of the radiation environment in space will not deter our efforts to travel to Mars, but it may be the single biggest obstacle that humanity must decide to travel beyond Earth's orbit," researchers wrote in their study conclusion , which was published on August 5th in the journal ENeuro.

The Earth's magnetic field protects the planet from solar radiation. Hill Steele / NASA

Dr. Munchal Acharya, a radiation oncologist at the University of California-Irvine and lead author of the study, said radiation exposure "affects cognitive function and behavior at the cellular level," adding that exposure can make it difficult for astronauts to respond unpredictably effectively. circumstances or stressful situations.

The study suggests that at least one in five astronauts sent to Mars will return with a severe deficiency in cognitive function, he said.

Healed rodents

For the study – the first simulation of radiation astronauts will be on a mission to Mars – Acharya and his associates exposed 40 mice to radiation for six months and then tested the memory and behavior of the animals.

One test shows that mice exposed to radiation are less capable than controlling animals to notice subtle changes in their environment. Another revealed that the mice exposed to radiation are so alarming that they "freeze" in situations, causing no concern in control animals.

"This fear was so intense in them that it was still freezing," in anticipation of the electric shock that the researchers stopped delivering, said Aharia, adding that radiation appeared to be difficult for the mice to learn and to learn. adapt by weakening the connections between different regions of the animal brain.


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