Infographic: The Hazards of Life on Mars

High levels of radiation, among other health risks, challenge the future colonation of the Red Planet.

By Diana Kwon | December 1, 2017

© SYLVAIN SARRAILH

Humans may have grand dreams of colonizing Mars, but before that happens, scientists and engineers will need to devise ways to protect travelers from the planet’s hostile environment. Spacesuits can help protect against most environmental harms, such as frigid temperatures and low oxygen. However, high levels of space radiation, which is the biggest concern, will be the most difficult to avoid.

Brain
Studies on rodents show that after exposure to cosmic radiation, the neurons in the brain suffer significant damage, primarily in the medial prefrontal cortex, a region involved in key cognitive functions, including decision-making and memory.
Thyroid
Perchlorates, a type of salt found in Martian dust, can impair thyroid gland functioning by inhibiting the uptake of iodine, a building block of hormones produced by the organ. If ingested, the salts block the activity of sodium iodide transporters on thyroid cells.
Lungs
Aside from the basic problems associated with breathing in fine-grained particles, Martian dust could contain chemicals hazardous to human health.
Cancer
Extended exposure to cosmic rays can increase the chances of developing tumors by causing carcinogenic mutations and modifying the tissue microenvironment. Cancers that are already common, such as those of the lung, liver, and blood, would see the greatest uptick.

Read the full story.

Add a Comment

Avatar of: You

You

Processing...
Processing...

Sign In with your LabX Media Group Passport to leave a comment

Not a member? Register Now!

LabX Media Group Passport Logo

Popular Now

  1. Two University of Rochester Professors Resign in Protest
  2. Dartmouth Professor Investigated for Sexual Misconduct Retires
  3. Theranos Leaders Indicted For Fraud
    The Nutshell Theranos Leaders Indicted For Fraud

    Federal prosecutors filed criminal charges that allege the company’s promise to revolutionize blood testing swindled investors out of hundreds of millions of dollars and put patients in danger.

  4. Koko the Signing Gorilla Dies at 46