The leukemia risk is said to increase during potential Mars explorations because of the exposure to radiation which is prone to be experienced by astronauts. Since we all know that NASA and SpaceX are making efforts to transform the idea of space colonization into reality, a new study has proved that deep space traveling could be dangerous for astronauts’ state of health.
Deep space exploration exposes astronauts to radiations
The radiation exposure could jeopardize their safety when traveling to distant planets like Mars. The new study was published in the Leukemia magazine. Scientists at Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine who received funding from NASA were the ones who developed the new research. Christopher Porada, a senior researcher in the study, claimed that scientists are not familiar with the effects of deep space radiation on the human body.
There are still a lot of things to be discovered. Until now, we are familiar with the effects of microgravity on the human physiology. Porada claimed that astronauts who would travel in deep space would be exposed for an extended period to these dangerous types of radiation. Scientists do not know many details about the effects of this exposure to space radiation. Porada is also an associate professor of regenerative medicine.
The Leukemia risk might increase due to space radiations
Porada’s team of researchers has analyzed the mixed effects of two different types of radiation which are found in deep space, namely solar energetic particles, and galactic cosmic ray radiation. Solar energetic particles are known to represent a factor in space journeys performed closer to our planet. Cosmic radiation consists of heavy metal nuclei. Porada explains that these contain low levels of radiation. Nevertheless, they have very high energy particles.
This factor increases the risk of radiation because the high-energy particles represent a more radioactive source that those used in X-rays. He argued that the particles’ energy is so increased that there is no material which could shield the spaceship to protect astronauts. When human cells get exposed to such dangerous radiation, the effect on the human body is devastating.
In the research developed by Porada, human cells were irradiated and then put into mice. A similar study was developed at Columbia University. Scientists indicated that the human cells which were exposed to radiation and then placed into mice did not indicate a high leukemia risk as stated before. These conflicting results are confusing even for specialists who are still trying to determine which the real effects of radiation exposure are.
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