Mars Voyage Won’t be Good for Us

International Space Station assembly EVA made ...

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If a human ever sets foot on Mars, will it be a giant step or an exhausted shuffle? Long-term space flight so weakens fitness that an astronaut heading to the Red Planet may lose up to half the power in key muscles in the course of the mission, scientists have found. The loss – equivalent to a crew member aged between 30 and 50 returning home with the muscles of an 80-year-old – would add a major danger to a trip already laden with peril, they said.

Muscles weaken at zero gravity

Researchers led by Robert Fitts of Marquette University, Wisconsin, took tiny samples of tissue from the calf muscles of nine U.S. and Russian astronauts who spent around six months on the International Space Station (ISS). The biopsies, taken 45 days before launch and on the day of return, showed dramatically how muscles atrophy in zero gravity. The losses in fibre mass, force and power translated into a decline of more than 40% in the capacity for physical work, Fitts reported.

Biggest muscles suffered the most

Ironically, beefing up before the trip had no impact on muscle loss. In fact, crew members who began with the biggest muscles turned out to have the biggest decline in muscle fitness.

Under one NASA scenario, a return trip to Mars using current rocket technology would take around three years, if a one-year stay on the planet is factored in.

If so, the decline in the most-affected muscles such as the calf could approach 50 percent, said Fitts.

Too weak to evacuate

Astronauts would tire faster doing even routine tasks, especially if they donned a space suit, and on returning to terrestrial gravity they could be so weak they might be unable to evacuate their spacecraft quickly in an emergency. Fitts said the results should not discourage humans from venturing farther into space. He Goes on:

Manned missions to Mars represent the next frontier, as the Western Hemisphere of our planet was 800 years ago. Without exploration, we will stagnate and fail to advance our understanding of the Universe.

Even so, the findings clearly show the need to improve fitness regimes in space so that astronauts are exposed to high-resistance exercise and the kinds of motions they experience on Earth, he said. Muscle loss adds to the long list of hazards facing a trip to Mars. In addition to technical dangers, astronauts face cancer-causing damage to DNA from cosmic radiation, loss of bone density and mental stress from prolonged incarceration.

In June, six men from Europe, Russia and China were locked away in a mock spaceship in a Moscow research institute for a year and a half to simulate a manned mission to Mars. The 520-day experiment comprises 250 days for the outward trip, 240 days for the return but only 30 days on the Martian surface.

[Via: ComosMagazine]


About bruceleeeowe
An engineering student and independent researcher. I'm researching and studying quantum physics(field theories). Also searching for alien life.

5 Responses to Mars Voyage Won’t be Good for Us

  1. Nelson says:

    When we have no other options to choose, we should try clononauts. Clononauts could be designed in essence to survive the low gravity of mars and capable of bearing atmospheric suffocations. Changing in DNA or mutating them by exposing into gamma ray well, may help.

    • bruceleeeowe says:

      Nelson, you made interesting points though your idea of mutating DNA by exposing it to gamma ray well is quite hellish since it would be mostly uncertain what kinda of mutation are you going to get? BTW, your idea was not bad! Clononauts aren’t bad either.

  2. In the science fiction films and fiction, they get around this problem by perfecting a heavily-shielded against radiation, suspended animation chamber so the astronauts just sleep in perfect shape for the long durations of the deep space mission. An alternative approach might be some innovation that makes the space ship so FAST that the space trip is too short for the muscle depreciating effects of long space travel in zero gravity to take hold. Some kind of laser beam repercussion/tractor beam ionized gas propulsion system might pull that trick off, although I don’t think we’ll see a real warp drive in our lifetimes at the rate we’re going. And then there’s the movies where they travel in super large ships equipped with rotating rings to create a artifical centrifuge force like ‘gravity’ for the ships occupants to live in most of the time so their muscles don’t deterioate at all.

  3. bruceleeeowe says:

    Centrifugal force is still best to recreate the effects of gravity. Muscles are programmed to bear a certain amount of load on a daily basis. When muscles don’t get that much load, simply a signal from mind reprogrammes them as per accordance to new requirementments. This is the main cause of deterioration, similar to body building but in a opposite sense.

  4. كازينو says:

    Hi guys, tried loading this blog through Google RSS reader and got a strange error message, any ideas what could be the issue?

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