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SPACE MEDICINE
Scientist Reveals Health Challenges That Flight to Mars Poses for Humans
by Staff Writers
Moscow (Sputnik) Jun 28, 2017


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Thais Russomano, the first female doctor in Latin America specializing in space medicine and the founder and director of the InnovaSpace and MicroG research centers for space biology, revealed in an interview with Sputnik the kinds of health challenges volunteers taking part in a long-term space mission to Mars could face.

Mars One is a project that aims to establish a permanent human settlement on Mars. It plans to land the first humans on Mars, who will then build a permanent human colony there.

The project is very ambitious, but faces a lot of challenges. In an interview with Sputnik Brazil, organized by the Peoples' Friendship University of Russia and Project 5-100, Latin American medical scientist Thais Russomano said that most of these challenges are related to human health.

"This is a very risky project - sending people to Mars. It is very important to assess all risks to avoid human deaths or serious health problems," the expert said.

According to Russomano, there are three main challenges that potential Mars colonizers have to face: changes in gravity, high levels of radiation and psychological issues.

"Let's take a spaceship with three or four people in it. They all have different backgrounds, they move away from Earth, it gets harder for them to coexist and communicate with each other.

"They have to abandon friends, family.... All this stress multiplied by the changes in the gravitational field, radiation and socio-psychological aspects affects the state in which a person flying from Earth will come to Mars," the expert said.

Russomano believes that theoretically scientists could create an earth-like gravitational field inside the spacecraft.

"This issue, perhaps, we could solve with the help of technology and investment if people manage to create such conditions, for example, by means of centrifugation," she said.

However, to resolve the radiation issue would be much more complicated, as implementing all of the currently available methods of protection would make a spacecraft too heavy to fly.

"If we, for example, use water as a means of protection against radiation from outer space, the spacecraft will be very heavy. Perhaps the best way to reduce radiation or even its effect on the human body is to shorten the flight time.

"For example, instead of a mission that lasts six months, organize a flight for three weeks. I think that for the first flight to Mars we need a good combination of efforts and huge investments in space engineering, physiotherapy and space medicine so that we can minimize the negative impact of these three aspects," Russomano concluded.

Source: Sputnik News

SPACE MEDICINE
Five projects selected from ISS funding opportunity focused on human physiology research
Kennedy Space Center FL (SPX) Jun 27, 2017
The Center for the Advancement of Science in Space (CASIS) and the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), has announced five grants have been awarded in response to a funding opportunity focused on human physiology and disease onboard the International Space Station (ISS) U.S. National Laboratory. Data from this research - w ... read more

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