There are a few challenges that scientists have to overcome in order to allow astronauts to land on Mars, according to NASA experts.
The US space agency assumes that in about 25 years astronauts will be finally able to set foot on the Red Planet., but at the moment, the tech and medical issues are enormous.
“The cost of solving those means that under current budgets, or slightly expanded budgets, it’s going to take about 25 years to solve those,” said former NASA astronaut Tom Jones, who flew on four space shuttle missions before retiring in 2001.
“We need to get started now on certain key technologies,” he told reporters in Washington, D.C.
Scientific issues are involved in the trip to Mars
At an average distance of about 225 million kilometers, Mars poses lots of scientific issues.
With today’s tech, an astronaut would need up to nine months to reach Mars, and the physical tool of floating that long in zero gravity would be enormous.
For example, experts believe that too extended weightlessness can trigger irreversible changes to the blood vessels in the retina and this would lead to vision degradation. After a while in zero-G, the human skeleton begins to leach calcium and bone mass as well.
More than that, the gravity on Mars is only one-third of Earth’s, and experts don’t know what a mission that would last one year could do to the human body.
So, the best way to reduce the negative effects on the body would be to cut the time needed to reach Mars.
In 25 years technologies could allow us to travel faster
Jones talked about nuclear propulsion systems that would produce electricity on flights.
“If we start now, in 25 years we might have these technologies available to help us and protect us from these long transit times,” he said.
Now, just an outbound trip to Mars would take so long that any astronaut would receive the same amount of radiation that would be deemed safe throughout an entire career.
“We don’t have the solution yet regarding shielding, regarding protecting you from cosmic rays and solar flares that you experience during this transit time,” Jones said.
I have been blogging and posting articles for over eight years, but my passion for writing dates back in 2000. I am especially enthusiastic about technology, science, and health-related issues. When I’m not researching and writing the latest news, I’m either watching sci-fi and horror movies or checking out places worth visiting and building deep memories for later in life. I believe in empathy and continually improving myself.