Trip to Mars Could Leave Astronauts Drained of Energy by Time They Got To the Planet

For years man has dreamt of going to Mars, even though for a long time it was thought to be an impossible task.  If recent studies have anything to say about it, we may never see a man or woman on the surface of Mars.

With current rocket technology, a trip to Mars would take about a year to complete, another year to get back, and however much time on the planet the mission called for.  Researchers at Milwaukee’s Marquette University recently released findings from studies involving sample tissues from astronauts that indicate the human body may not be able to endure the rigors of a trip to the Red Planet.

Researchers took tissue samples from nine U.S. and Russian astronauts who would be spending roughly six months on the International Space Station.  Tissue samples were taken 45 days before astronauts left for the space station, and then once again on the day they returned from space.  Results paint a bleak picture for the future of a human led trip to Mars.

The results after a six-month stay in space, found that the astronauts had suffered severe muscle atrophy caused by the prolonged exposure to a zero gravity atmosphere.  The loss in muscle tissue resulted in a 40% decrease in the astronaut’s capacity for work.  Professor Robert Fitts said that the results indicate that by the time a shuttle made it to Mars, the astronauts would be so wanton for energy that they would likely be unable to perform even routine tasks.  The additional stress of doing so while wearing a space suit, would make the ability to complete tasks even less likely, the professor said.

In June, six men from Europe, Russia, and China agreed to enter a simulated space shuttle and stay there for 18-months in an attempt to simulate the effects a flight to Mars would have on astronauts.  Science or not, the race to reach Mars will likely continue.


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