Mars Colonization is Nigh, but Astronauts may Face Martian Madness

Let’s admit it, colonizing mars would be the coolest space thing to have happened since the moon landing, and that was over 40 years ago! I’m not saying that landing robots on Mars wasn’t pretty cool too, but we need real people out there in space to explore the final frontier. Scientists at NASA are currently looking into this possibility of starting a Mars colony, and some of the issues they’ve come across are actually quite bizarre.

 

The study they did was on the effects of radiation on space-travellers during their trip to Mars, and to test this, they decided to start by exposing mice to some of the same stuff that astronauts might be faced with if a Mars trip were actually happening, and their results were pretty interesting. They found that prolonged exposure to interstellar radiation could result in “. . . a range of potential central nervous system complications that can occur during and persist long after actual space travel — such as various performance decrements, memory deficits, anxiety, depression and impaired decision-making.“

 

This ultimately doesn’t bode well for a Mars mission, but it only gets me more excited about what is next to come. There are so many new things to explore, it’s impossible to understand how many issues we aren’t even aware of yet. Our leading scientists didn’t even know if there was any water on Mars until a few years ago, and we’re just now discovering new diseases and ailments that we might have to deal with when we’re ready to take the inevitable leap of colonizing the Red Planet.

 

So, you might ask, what is there to be done about this, and how is it relevant? My answer is that exploration is a part of our nature as Humans, and though we still have a lot to learn and a lot of hurt to fix on our own planet, we need to be looking forward to new frontiers and supporting our friends at NASA and SpaceX as much as we can for the betterment of humanity.

NASA’s Martian Mission Still a Gleam of Light

In an attempt to speed up their mission of exploring Mars in the future, NASA was supposed to deploy the Bigelow Expandable Activity Module (BEAM), super large expandable tent attached to the International Space Station (ISS). However, their launch was halted following the failure of BEAM to swell accurately. NASA opted to postpone the mission for one day, to diagnose what could have been wrong with their inflatable.

This was quite a setback as proving the capability of the technology would have brought the lunar habitat, the Mars mission or the cislunar habitat, a little closer or a pinch closer to reality. BEAM was expected to swell from 7.75 in diameter and 7.09 feet long to 10.5 feet in diameter and 13.16 feet long. Nobody knew exactly how the inflatable tent would swell in microgravity just as no one anticipated that two hours of pumping who result only to an expansion of its width.

According to BEAM Program Deputy Director, BEAM was designed with the capability to go up, shaped like a large hockey puck or may be a giant birthday cake, swelling to a habitat that’s about 4 time its size. Whenever BEAM got past the atmosphere without all its fuels, then it could use light as its supplies. It is practically a technology that turns cloths/garment into something that can protect the human body from the cold space vacuum.

Wired reports that BEAM engineers faced numerous challenges including ensuring that the high-tech inflatable was airtight and protecting against radiation, did not mess with the space station, and that all the fabrics would be off-gassing. However, NASA plan to look into features like inflatable airlocks to diagnose the cause of inflation failure, to get back into making sure Mars-bound astronaut of the future do not end up consuming potatoes grown in their own poop.