3.02.2006

Will Cosmic Rays Prevent Human SpaceFlight?
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Scientists have identified one of the key challenges facing humans going into space in the next few decades. The danger is invisible and deadly.

The threat is: cosmic rays.

On a journey of more than a few days, the impact on the human body can be projected and it is not attractive.

Dying Inside

For example, after only a few days in open space, minute nanoscale cosmic rays begin to affect your DNA and the body's ability to regenerate. Rapid aging, cellular breakdown, and cognitive impairment on a rapid timescale is possible. And all is not safe on other worlds: on a planet with a skimpy atmosphere, like Mars, the protection afforded will be minimal. Therefore, humans will need to live either underground or undersea.

OR

Mission theorists have come up with some possible solutions. For interplanetary or interstellar trips, the capsule will need to be centrally submerged in a globe of fluid - either water or C2H4. Water has an advantage because it can be used hydroponically; however, the extra weight makes earth-takeoff impossible, more likely the water would be ionized from component gases.

Another solution is charging the entire craft with a positive charge of 2 billion volts, which will create an umbrella or envelope around the craft and mimic the effect of the Van Allen belts and the upper atmosphere in creating the blue-green marble that is earth.

To avoid cognitive impairment now and in the future, get started here.



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