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Can Humans Survive a trip to Mars? No Way!

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posted on Mar, 26 2004 @ 10:42 AM
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There has been a lot of talk of a manned mission to Mars lately. President Bush recently stated we build a base on the Moon and work twards sending a manned mission to Mars. Bush's father, on the 20th anniversary of the first manned moon landing, made a similar call for lunar colonies and a Mars expedition. But the plan was prohibitively expensive -- an estimated $400 billion to $500 billion -- and went nowhere. No one knows what the new venture might cost or how NASA would pay for it.

My question is how human physiology could withstand such a journey.



What are the human challenges of a long-duration mission to Mars. Can the psychological and physiological challenges of this trip be met?

We dont just need to create an atmosphere that astronauts can survive, they need to thrive. It does us no good just to get the people there alive; we need to ensure they get to the red planet in top physical and mental shape for the mission to be successful.

NASA scientists are considering a human mission, possibly as early as the year 2012. But the journey would be a long one, unlike any human space mission ever undertaken. The trip to Mars could take as long as 26 months. Our current space vessels could not carry enough fuel to complete the entire trip, so scientists must devise a way to manufacture fuel for the return trip. Food would also need to be grown or manufactured during the journey.

But the greatest unknown is the human factor. Astronauts making the trip to Mars could not look back and see the Earth. How would they deal with the psychological effects of the long, dark journey? Physical changes could play a role too -- exercise is less effective in space than on Earth, because the force exerted by gravity is reduced. Exercising on a treadmill in space, for example, produces a force of only 50 to 70 percent of one's Earth bodyweight. Finding effective ways to exercise is important to maintaining muscular strength and bone density during long stays in microgravity.

What are the effect of weightlessness on the human body?

Fluid redistribution is one of these effects. It occurs when bodily fluids shift from the lower body (where they normally abound due to the downward tug of gravity) to the head and upper body. This redistribution of fluids is coupled with fluid loss. When the brain senses the increased volume of fluid in the upper body, it interprets this as being an increase in the total volume of fluid in the body. The brain then responds by triggering the excretion of fluids, making astronauts prone to dehydration.

The cardiovascular system. On Earth, the heart must operate against gravitational pressure to sustain blood flow. Under zero-gravity conditions, that force is absent, causing the heart to lessen its pace according to the decreased demands.

Bone deterioration as a result of zero-gravity is extremely deleterious to an astronauts health. This deterioration occurs when the amount of physical stress on bones decreases.

Similar to bone deterioration, muscles atrophy as a result of disuse. In space, actions and movement require considerably less exertion because the force of gravity is practically non-existent. As a result, astronauts muscles become deconditioned.

The decreased production of red blood cells is another consequence of living in microgravity. Scientists are not sure why this occurs, but evidence has shown that decreased exertion and prolonged weightlessness result in mild cases ofspace anemia.

Balance disorders can also result from extended exposure to zero-gravity.

The immune system is also affected by weightlessness. Astronauts become quite susceptible to illness when in space. The human immune response lowers and the quantity of infection-fighting cells in the immune system decreases after prolonged exposure to microgravity.

Minor effects of weightlessness on the human body includes puffiness in the face, flatulence, weight loss, nasal congestion and sleep disturbance are usually only minor (yet common) annoyances.

There are other hazards, too, Van Allen noted. For instance, the long-term effect of cosmic radiation outside the Van Allen belt is unknown. On a trip to Mars and back, probably every cell in the body would be hit by an ionized particle or a proton, researchers say, and they have very little idea what that would do. "If every neuron in your brain gets hit, do you come back being a blithering idiot, or not?" A round trip to Mars put the exposure at 130,000 millirem over two and a half years. That is equivalent to almost 400 years of natural exposure.

Some psychological effects of being away on a mission of this length could include boredom, anxiety, sleep trouble, somatic complaints, anger, disorientation, depression and an inability to perform their duties. One of the biggest concerns on a mission like this would involve sexual rivalry between crew members.

I dont see how we can overcome all of these issues. Remember the trip is likely to last more than two years.



RESOURCES:
www.uwm.edu...
www.newsmax.com.../04/19/110045
www.ibiblio.org...
www.nytimes.com...


[Edited on 26-3-2004 by kinglizard]




posted on Mar, 26 2004 @ 01:06 PM
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I read somewhere that you would need lead shielding six feet thick to protect the astronauts from radiation.



posted on Mar, 26 2004 @ 02:18 PM
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RE: Previous post...good...now we're getting somewhere...and how thick would it have to be to get to the moon and back???

Answer: 6 feet.



posted on Mar, 26 2004 @ 02:29 PM
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So what about the people in the ISS. Havent they been up there for a year already?



posted on Mar, 26 2004 @ 02:34 PM
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Originally posted by mepatriot
RE: Previous post...good...now we're getting somewhere...and how thick would it have to be to get to the moon and back???

Answer: 6 feet.


Activity in the two known Van Allen radiation belts grew so intense in May 1998 that a new belt was created, said Baker. The activity was detected by several NASA spacecraft, including NASA's WIND, SAMPEX and Polar satellites, all part of the multi-agency International Solar and Terrestrial Physics Program.

We used to think that the Van Allen Belts slowly waxed and waned and were not particularly dynamic," he said. "But these belts have now been shown to be powerful, energetic particle accelerators, generating excitement and awe in the scientific community."

If man was to go to Mars they would need to grow their own food. I wonder what effect this radiation would have on the plants.

www.sciencedaily.com...



posted on Mar, 26 2004 @ 02:40 PM
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Originally posted by cloudx
So what about the people in the ISS. Havent they been up there for a year already?


I will try to find the information but I believe the ISS is safe because the Van Allen Belt is 100's of miles away from the earth. Someone correct me if Im wrong.



posted on Mar, 26 2004 @ 03:42 PM
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I'll try and dig it up but I read somewere that aluminum that they currently love to use does little to protect against radiation but plastic was awesome at protecting from radiation. Also There are some plasma propulsion physics experiments that produce a magnetic shield so to speak not unlike the magnetic field around earth that can divert radiation around a spacecraft. I'll get some links if I can dig it up again.



posted on Mar, 26 2004 @ 03:52 PM
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The ISS is orbiting beneath the Van Allen belts.

Cheers....



posted on Mar, 26 2004 @ 04:41 PM
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Uhmm. am I wrong in thinking that if the spaceship was to carry behind it sometyhing of a similar mass, possibly a spent thruster or whatever, then and artificial gravity would be created at 1g onboard the ship?

If I am wrong in this assumption then is there no other way to create artificial gravity on board a ship travelling through space?



posted on Mar, 26 2004 @ 04:44 PM
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They could spin the ship.

For something to have a gravity of one G it would have to have a mass of on g unless it was spinning or steadily speeding up.



posted on Mar, 26 2004 @ 04:47 PM
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Maybe they'll do what they did in that comedy movie Rocketman and get into these chambers and sleep for 2 years straight.



posted on Mar, 26 2004 @ 04:54 PM
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Originally posted by kinglizardit.
Astronauts making the trip to Mars could not look back and see the Earth. How would they deal with the psychological effects of the long, dark journey? Physical changes could play a role too -- exercise is less effective in space than on Earth, because the force exerted by gravity is reduced. by kinglizard]


LOL Dude, last I heard there was NO gravity in space. Still I think most of the obstacles you stated can be over come in time. My thoughts are we would be lucky to have a permanent base on the moon by 2012 let alone be in any shape to go to Mars



posted on Mar, 26 2004 @ 04:54 PM
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i believe, unless they can figure out cryogenics in the next few years, it would be very possible, but other then that, there are so many other things that need to be determined before mars travel is even possible. Possibly a new power source for travel, because I'm wondering how much of a burn they would need to get towards mars, and back.



posted on Mar, 26 2004 @ 08:56 PM
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I came up with a thought after watching a movie in which the person was sprayed with a white powder by a voodo priest. What the powder did was mock death, by slowing the heart and breathing down so the person would be alive yet motionless, I believe the movie was based on fact.

Space travel with the crew sedated with this powder, would be awake and could be trained at the same time. For the effects on the body, I saw electrical body suite taken from those late night adds on losing weight with this miracle way of electrical device. Sending shock into the muscle to flex it or keep its muscle tone. Place the body in a cylinder attached to a dryer based design spinner to produce gravity on the body fluids. Like a bear the people would be in hibernation reducing food, water needs. The process would stop on approach to Mars and the crew taken out and prepare for the landing on Mars. If we send people we will need to have a place already assembled for them to walk into, using robotics would be that answer.

Just thoughts spoken out loud.

Michael


Ps - forgot to mention I saw the hull of the ship having electricity to block out radiation ( 20,000 league under the sea and shocking the natives off the ship )

[Edited on 26-3-2004 by Ark-Angel]



posted on Mar, 26 2004 @ 08:58 PM
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Originally posted by kinglizard
I read somewhere that you would need lead shielding six feet thick to protect the astronauts from radiation.



they dont have it on the shuttle and they didnt have it on the moon missions



posted on Mar, 27 2004 @ 06:35 PM
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All of the lack-of-gravity problems are easily solvable. As said, a rotating fusilage would easily create g+ forces, and still allow for the weightless fun of space.

The largest problem is definitely the radiation, which, if it is unpassable, 6 feet of protection isn't THAT bad, we should just be happy it isn't 20.



posted on Mar, 28 2004 @ 12:08 AM
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No doubt there's allot of things to overcome, but where there's a will there's a way. I'm sure the same was said in the early seafaring days, can't survive the storms, carry enough supplies and on but they did and we are here.


Originally posted by kinglizard
Astronauts making the trip to Mars could not look back and see the Earth.


While I have not done any research on this, I would like a better explanation of why they can't look back at earth. I can't see why the orientation of the vehical can't be adjusted to allow a view of the earth through portholes or at the very least with camera's. Is there something I'm missing here?





[Edited on 28-3-2004 by outsider]



posted on Mar, 28 2004 @ 12:17 AM
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that six feet of lead thing is crap... no such need.

also, a moon base would be a waste of material, time, and money. it would be so much cheaper to launch everything into earth orbit and get it together there.


jra

posted on Mar, 28 2004 @ 02:21 AM
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6 feet to protect from radiation? I think not... A piece of wood can affectively block out proton radiation. Of course there is a lot of it around Earth, but you don't need 6 feet of anything to keep the people safe. It's not like the radiation consists of gamma rays or x-rays or anything.

About the gravity. All you need is something that creates a centerfugal. You know when you take a bucket and fill it with water and spin around with the bucket sideways, out in front of you and the water stays against the bottom of the bucket and won't spill out. Well you can do that very same thing in space. It's been done in sci fi a lot.

The space station.


I know i had a big pdf file on creating space ships with the centerfugal idea in mind. Talked about things like how fast it would need to spin and what not. I think one rotation per minute was said to be good. Spin it too fast and the people inside could get nauseous and dizzy. It also talked about other interesting things like, if you were to bounce a ball stright down, it wouldn't come back up stright, it would curve a bit. Which is obvious when you think about it, but i hadn't considered things like that before.

About the psychological effects of the long trip. Well submariners spend about 3 months inside a small cramped vessel with about 100+ people. And may never see the light of day for that whole time. That's got to be a bit tough. Sure going to mars would take a lot longer (about 8 months or so), but i think it could be done no problem. Unless NASA sends a bunch of mentaly unstable people.

[Edited on 28-3-2004 by jra]



posted on Mar, 28 2004 @ 02:27 AM
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Radiation shielding and articial gravity (spin). Problem solved! Ok, let's go to Mars now.





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