How Dangerous is Deep Space Travel to Mars and Beyond ?

How Dangerous is Deep Space Travel to Mars and Beyond ?

NASA has a mission protocol which says if a low-earth orbit mission increases the life time risk of the crew getting cancer by more than 3% then they won’t go ahead with it but the upcoming Mars missions may expose the crews to levels which will be beyond that limit and two other hazards, so how dangerous is deep space travel to Mars and Beyond. With Ellen musk pushing to get men onto Mars by the mid-2020s and NASA looking to do the same for the 2013 just how much we learned since Apollo and from space stations. 50 years on from the beginning of the Apollo missions and we have yet to send any man back to the moon let alone on the much more arduous journey to our nearest viable planet Mars. Now whilst much of this as being down to the lack of political will in the face of our own man-made problems here on earth it’s also down to be increasing sophistication of robotic probes and Landers that are much cheaper to make launch, can go where no man could go and continue working for years of the time. The Voyager probes for example are still going 40 years after their launch. If we relied upon man discovery only we would know a fraction of what we know now. With data from probes that we have sent around solar system since then we have built up a picture which is far from the vision of just whizzing through interplanetary space that along with the joint NASA-Russian experiment of having been in space for a year on board the International Space Station, we now have a much better understanding of what they may experience from the two-and-a-half year round trip tomorrow. We humans evolved on earth and our bodies are adapted from moving around under the effects of 1g of gravity, take that away and problem start to arise our physiology. We often forget what a sheltered life we all leave here on our little blue dot in the harshness of space. We are protected from 99.9% of harmful radiation not only from the Sun but also from other galactic sources by our atmosphere the Earth’s magnetic field and the Van Allen belt, yes they make a pain for space travel but they do protect us from further radiation on earth. Get beyond the shelter of these and open space is far from empty, it’s teeming with not only radiation from our Sun but also much more powerful radiation from outside our solar system in a form of galactic cosmic rays and gamma rays. Most of the hard data we have about the levels of radiation in deep space comes from the radiation assessment detector instrument which was aboard Mars rover Curiosity, part of the bar science laboratory which was launched in November 2011. The radiation assessment detector was turned on for about 220 out of 253 day journey to Mars and showed that the radiation levels were between 100 and 1000 times higher than that on the earth for an unshielded occupant but it was highly variable and depended a lot on the solar activity at the time. Experiments done on earth with Beam accelerators, computer modeling and confirmation from the cosmic-ray scope on the lunar reconnaissance orbiter as it goes around the moon has shown that plastics with a high hydrogen content are more effective than the same weight of aluminium at stopping particle radiation from both the Sun and galactic cosmic rays and this has been incorporated into the latest spacecraft design like the NASA Orion and the SpaceX Dragon 2. Galactic cosmic rays are protons and nuclei of atoms which have been expelled from supernovas and other violent cosmic events and have been accelerated to near the speed of light. Because of this they have a much greater energy level and can right through space craft and the crew. Shielding helps but it’s a compromise between thickness of the shield the extra weight involved which makes it more difficult then to get into space from Earth. To contend with solar flares, a radiation shelter in the craft where there is extra shielding has been proposed with SpaceX Mars mission. Liquid hydrogen or water storage tanks around the crew areas provide a good shield against particle radiation and creating a strong magnetic shield around the crew areas are all possible but don’t protect well against electromagnetic wave radiation gamma-rays. Using the curiosity data has been calculated that the radiation risk of a return journey to Mars will be about 600 millisieverts equivalent to about 50 full-body CT scans over that period or being on the International Space Station for 4 years straight. This is also about 30 times the yearly allowance for a radiation worker and that doesn’t include stay on Mars itself. A dose of one sievert or 1000 millisieverts is associated with a lifetime increase in fatal cancers by about 5%, which is near the level of the whole mission including stay on Mars. This would be a career limit any of the crew and young women are at a higher risk of cancer from radiation compared to older men so that could affect the crew make up. Along with the cancer risk there’s also be increased chance of developing cataracts as the radiation passes through the eye. Recent research has also suggested that the effects of galactic cosmic rays damaging brain cells at the molecular level could cause brain damage similar to the onset of dementia which could show within the duration of the journey. Away from the radiation risks they’re also physiological effects of microgravity on the human body. NASA astronaut Scott Kelly spent 340 days in space on the International Space Station and even with a tough two-and-a-half-hour exercise regime each day, he still experience problems with circulation, eye sight as well as a loss of bone and muscle mass. Once in space the fluids in the body no longer have gravity to pull them into the lower extremities and are equally distributed around the body. One of the effects of this is to make the back of the eye swell up and alter their shape which effects vision. Stays on the International Space Station of about a week were quickly reversed when back on earth but lasted for much longer after several months in microgravity. On earth the heart pumps blood around the body and the veins in the legs squeeze the blood back to the heart. In space the same amount of blood is being pumped by the heart but there is much less effort required to return it to the body this allows cardio muscular system in the legs to weaken over time again. When returning to a gravity environment this can cause extreme dizziness and fainting due to the lack of blood been returned to the upper body and brain which could occur the when they reach Mars. Within five months of being in a microgravity environment, astronauts can lose up 40% of their muscle mass and 12% of bone mass, this increases the risk of bone fractures when returning to a gravity environment and it’s like turning a 20 year-old into a 60-year-old in just a few months. Psychological issues are also a problem to people in isolated areas for long periods. Some scientists that worked all year round in Antarctica suffer mental health disorder called “Winter Over Syndrome” which is characterized by symptoms such as depression, irritability, aggressive behavior, insomnia and memory problems all the sort of things you don’t want to happen when trying to perform mission critical tasks in space or on Mars. Humans traveling in open space is always going to be a risky business and in the end some say the risk is worth the reward of getting men to Mars and they can do much more than a robot in a short space of time and they are much better at handling unexpected situations. But dead or dying crew is something no one wants to see beamed back to earth so it’s in all our interests to make sure the risks are minimized as much as possible. It will be over 50 years since the last Apollo flight by the time the earliest Mars missions come around, so even just take a little bit longer than expected, it won’t make that much difference to make sure that we get it right. What do you think of the Mars mission and the risk of traveling in deep space? let me know in the comments below and don’t forget to subscribe rate and share and also check out some of our other videos you may find interesting. So thanks for watching and I’ll see you in the next video.

100 thoughts on “How Dangerous is Deep Space Travel to Mars and Beyond ?”

  • Thomas Weyandt says:

    Have you heard of Mars Direct which would include artificial gravity using a very long tether to connect the Hab module with the burned out final stage and rotating the spacecraft/booster around the center of the tether and thus creating Mars or Earth level artificial gravity?

  • I like the idea of improving technology,
    I don't like the idea of living on mar's, having mar's forces destroy human DNA. (ISS 1 year man in space proves it)
    We are Finite being's belonging to earth. There is no escape only improvement or fail.
    I do wounder when people will wake up…. Only way i see it happening is if…
    Maybe if there was a space station above mar's or even a room on mars, that mimic'ed earths gravity, magneto field, and other natural forces, a person could in theory exercise their DNA by being exposed to earth's natural like forces and helping to preventing or slowing down genetic damage due to the natural differential forces of Mars and other forces.
    We must take care of people, they are not cannon fodder to our ignorance, when we already know the possible outcome, we have a'lot more preparing and learning to do, like mastering space stations to mimic earths forces in order to protect man in space, something that would have a'lot more use than living on a dead world, slowly melting away. We must not skip to end game without understanding the consequences.
    For the time being it would be way smarter and humane to simply send drones or robots to do work for us on Mars.
    Over time with the limitations of our robotics of today will inspire those of tomorrow to improve on it,
    We humans must simply be patient less we needlessly endanger the lives of our fellow people because of a ill thought excitement of emotion for exploration that we should of controlled.
    I don't mean to be negative Nancy but i've been saying this for years, and people really need to consider every move and the moves we fail to see before we leap to action.
    -Dodo Bird Theory

  • Go to Mars, put a flag. Proceeds 50years without any more missions or permanent bases on Mars… I think we should go to the moon, make permanent bases there, perfect technology and live for a few years on the moon. Then confidently go to Mars.

  • I was largely onboard with Carl Sagan’s dream of beginning the necessary leg work of giving the descendants of our species a run at surviving the death of Sol. But I am starting to think that our ability to survive driven by the evolution forged characteristics of this world is much more a permanent reality than many of us may be willing to accept.

    I think these days I’m more on the side of doubling down on AI and robots to explore our solar system and working out a way for a single generation to witness the launch of a vehicle bound for Alpha Centauri and returned images of that first flyby.

    In our solar system, go 100% towards missions like Dragon Fly to Titan, capable craft to Enceladus and Europa. The Venusian atmosphere.
    Let’s get after our hunt for other life.
    Like Uncle Bill says, once we find life, it will change everyone’s idea of what it means to be a living thing in the cosmos.
    I think our species is in an urgent need of a kick to the ego.

  • About 50 years ago Apollo 11 crew must have exposd to …All the dangers explained about space radiation to dangerous for human body
    Q. were we better 50 years ago to shield appolo 11 crew and now smehow we are not ???

  • David Alan Gay says:

    It was mentioned in the video the Voyager probes were still operational 40 years after launch. Are they still transmitting data about that part of our solar system?

  • Phillip Honeysett says:

    Stability n shuttles travel n time that's wats fuels light n energy's n land that's safety n security not concern s n wonders of insecurity n air n gravity all elements universe see

  • I think a centrifuge as in "2001" that creates artificial gravity would be a must for deep space travel. It would seem that such a craft may have to be launched piecemeal and assembled in Earth orbit. Include the protections needed for the various forms of radiation and we might be able to make space missions more often. Personally, I think it's imperative to put more resources into space travel to the point that it's as easy as crossing the street, because at some point our resources on Earth will run out. So, we need to think about the idea of a new home planet now. And not wait until it's too late.

  • It's not going to happen and it shouldn't.its a dead rock and anyone going there will die on the way,in the landing, or the take off back to earth, or come back a cancer riddled, blind insane wreck who can't walk.

  • Wy we shoud destroy our planet and live in moon or mars we make atom bombs to destroy Erth. Earth is our home we should save it and make el cars ships and airoplanes el trains and el fabrics and save the tree's stop to use oils and gass

  • Humans will be going nowhere . Not now , not ever . Radiation 100 more than on earth . Shielding required would be too heavy . Assessment now will reveal future missions are too dangerous for man on the moon . Begs the question , did we go in the 1960 s ? Dont think so .

  • We need to concentrate on ourselves, and new physics of course. The soul will be able to travel without the body, in a sort of spacecraft. All the rest, except robots, are nonsense. They only fool the people to get funds, like the so called man on the Moon in the 70 is. I going to be another 50 years or so, for a man to land on the Moon!

  • Charles A. Robinson says:

    I do not understand why several rockets couldn't take what ever extra heavy shielding against comic rays and the extra fuel needed to get to Mars and construct them onto the Mars vehicle once in orbit on a staging platform or the space station? Is there a way to create artificial gravity while in transit? Say spinning the craft like a fair ride as it travels forward?

  • We need antigrav for better power to weight ratio with the energy endurance to haul all that shielding garbage along, while providing for a constant ship acceleration of 32 ft/sec during the journey to provide gravity for the crew through the floor decks. Pursuing manned flight into deep space with rocket tech, sorry, no bueno……..

  • donald desrosiers says:

    just a waste to send humans beyond low earth orbit…zero synch orbit at the most otherwise robots only… hands down. We can send 10 probes for the price of one human mission and more.

  • Johnny Ray Smith says:

    I call bullsuger on the cancer thing….alkaline the blood before, and during the mission. This WILL minimize the for the the rest…it's beyond my knowledge…'s interesting….

  • Everyone watching this video will be dead before a human foot sets on mars.
    Unless someone can come up with a reason to waste years of an astronauts life getting there and back. and having nothing much to do worth the trip when they get there that a robot couldn't do.

    Besides how much would it cost half a Trillion Dollars ? – Nope the tech is to poor quality and there is no reason to go to mars befoe anyone even knows what the rest of the solar system is like in detail – even 10 or 20 robot probes would be more productive than a manned mission and the cost is so gigantic you could pay for dozens of them for the cost of that one ego fluffing mission of no real merit. – By all means do it when you can get there in 3 months – but not in years – it's pointless and foolish & a huge waste of people's time who could be doing something more useful.

  • People will never go to Mars to visit, much less to stay. Manned exploration of outer space is unnecessary and much too dangerous. It is refreshing to hear an honest voice explain the truth about these matters. "Your children will live on Mars," one video predicts.

    Some who call themselves scientists predict that extraterrestrials with more advanced technology will be found that will help us solve our problems on earth. Wait a minute. Our problems are not caused by a lack of technology. We have plenty of that. Our problems are the result of a lack of morality. Every time a new technology arises, it is weaponized.

    Finding evidence of ancient bacteria on Mars (which they won't find) would not solve our self-destructive behavior. Now they are funding a probe to Triton, looking for life there in a subsurface ocean. Give me a break.

    Unmanned probes have taught us some amazing things. We do not need to embark on a suicide mission to go plant a flag on Mars.

  • He lays out all the risks but offers no solutions. Sounds like they're saying the astronauts will just have to deal with it. I think this will be a one way trip.

  • I enjoy ur content I'm no scientist but I do enjoy space science personally I feel they're best bet for getting to Mars is by starting with the moon from they're they could develop a hansel and gretel sort of breadcrumb relay satellite system as they spread out farther and farther so that there's always a constant connection could even pair it with the light sail technology as they make their way to Mars while simultaneously both leaving behind and sending off light sail relay satellites building an interplanetary communication grid

  • Means one thing….sorry Space nerds…we are meant to stay on our own planet by mother space, as opposed to mother nature, and we should head that law and fix our own planet. We have NO business venturing out unless we can fix and maintain what damage we've done to earth. Lets explore the deep oceans instead. No brainer in my eyes.

  • Reiner Wilhelms-Tricarico says:

    Build a robot colony on Mars. Let them build nicely shielded housing. In the meantime wait until we have the technology to fly to Mars in 6 weeks, not 6 months. Then it may be ok to bring humans there.

  • David Henningson says:

    Yeah for now the radiation hazard, and lack of (or reduced artificial gravity)… are practical deal killers for missions requiring months and years. Once practical solutions catch up with our ambition to expand beyond the earth… then it will happen. Hopefully within my lifetime… but whenever it does happen… it should be done in a safe and effective manner. I wanted to visit space (Mars especially) as a kid… but I wouldn't go now as an adult… not worth it if my brain gets shredded by GCRs… or I return dying of terminal cancer.

  • The task is awesome and dangerous, but then, so were many other things mankind learned to overcome, conquer and live with. Space is simply the final chapter. Thanks for this truly insightful video.

  • We should just launch an all out full scale invasion of Mars.

    250,000 people hurled towards it in the next 4 days or so… just load up every ship and viable plane we can and press the GO button.

    Best way to learn from failures is to have a few… so fk it… just send 'em. And if there are Martians there… boy won't they be surprised when they see a massive assault force of homeless people (best to use the ones from LA, Seattle, and SF to make up the bulk of people going) coming towards them.


  • Reverend Saltine says:

    Sounds really bad to try traveling to Mars. Of course, spinning the ship or environment would solve the gravity problem. Launching from earth using nukes would allow them to employ proper;y heavy shielding.

  • While the problems you pointed out are obviously dangerous, greater danager comes from something we don't know. They say "we don't know what we don't know". So, before jumping to Mars, shouldn't we step back to the moon first and learn?

  • We should send Liberals to mars.
    They know how to fix its environment.
    Cosmic rays wont bother them. They already display brain damage similar to the onset of dementia, and Its all open borders on mars.


  • We should just send a robot crew and work with them like we do with drones! Sure we gotta figure out the delay but then it's discovery time. No need to actually go.. Send C3PO!

  • Thanks for those facts. A vehicle with the ability to transport people to Mars would ( obviously ) have to have to be a complete different animal to the ones developed for the Moon. First – even before you tackle radiation – it would need to provide a simulation of gravity. I remember a movie called 2010, in which the spaceship had revolving pods. Sci / fi yes, but something like that would need to be developed. The ship would need to be modular and built in space too. Very expensive. I doubt any one nation could do it on their own – or maybe they could – If they did take on such a challenge alone it would be a very long term project. Back in the 60's and 70's, Moon landing's were achieved through sheer determination, incredible engineering talent, and unimaginable bravery.

  • The Unknown Gamer says:

    The stars are not visible in low Earth orbit..or cannot be photographed from that location..please provide a rhetorical answer to my retarded observations.

  • ShatteredMercury says:

    NASA needs to grow a pair. I'd take a 3% life time risk of cancer to see the red planet. I'd say anything more than 10% would be unacceptable. I'd sign up for a round trip. The past 20 odd years have been a crushing disappointment for space flight. Just LEO and back without even setting up any real infrastructure.

  • william mcclellan says:

    Will get around to Mars, after we've been on the moon for 10 or 15 years, and we've had time to compare weightlessness to moon gravity and then we'll have some thoughts on what a stay on Mars might mean to the human body.

  • this is no different then the the sea born explorers or antarctic explorers, or just about any point in the history of man, when they were willing to point at a distant goal that they couldn't see and go to it , no matter what the cost. I suspect that there will be many volunteers, even given what you've just said, that don't much care and are willing to go when the chance arises.

  • We should absolutely go for it.
    Design a large enough craft to build in artificial gravity and give the crew room.
    Obviously the shielding will be required as well.

  • So why not build something like the ISS for deep space travel? Build it extremely strong and resistant to everything here on earth, then send it up in pieces.

  • Nearly every Apollo astronaut developed cataracts later in life as a result of having to travel through the VA belts on the way to the moon.

  • It's all about money, we have the technology and resources to create artificial gravity and better shielding, but it would cost more ! It seems it's better to put human life in danger rather than have a costly mission ! So here is the question how valuable is human life ! Our planet could be in danger from asteroids or comets, again it costs a lot to put up a defensive system ! Human greed for money will be the downfall of humanity !

  • Smart People do not Travel in Space !!
    Smart People Make Money by Sending Others to Space.

    It’s the Same with War.

    Get the Picture ??

  • "As if placed in a "time machine," prophets are taken to the remote past, or transported to the distant future. With relationship to the past, they obtain information never seen by archaeologists, geologists, or paleontologists. With relationship to the future, they offer information that the years or the centuries will eventually prove to be accurate. They have access to places and beings in the universe that are totally unknown, even to modern space scientists. As far as human history is concerned, they are witnesses to events that historians have not recorded. In relation to the secret lives of individuals, they have access to situations and circumstances known only to the people involved.The last point mentioned in the previous paragraph, the communication to the prophet of events and circumstances that individuals keep secret, contains the essence of the divine Presence that makes that particular message something superhuman or supernatural. Hundreds of letters sent by Ellen White during seventy years of prophetic ministry contained this component that always caused astonishment and surprise to those involved. It is this ingredient that produced changes and reformation in the honest and sincere of heart, and that even the most rebellious had to accept as of divine origin because of the accuracy and truthfulness of the declarations referring to the deepest secrets of their lives. VOTS 50.1 – VOTS 50.2

    If we will but listen, God's created works will teach us precious lessons of obedience and trust. From the stars that in their trackless course through space, follow from age to age their appointed path, down to the minutest atom, the things of nature obey the Creator's will. And God cares for everything and sustains everything that he has created. He who upholds the unnumbered worlds throughout immensity, at the same time cares for the wants of the little brown sparrow that sings its humble song without a fear. When men go forth to their daily toil, as when they engage in prayer; when they lie down at night, and when they rise in the morning; when the rich man feasts in his palace, or when the poor man gathers his children about the scanty board, each is tenderly watched by the heavenly Father. No tears are shed that God does not notice. There is no smile that he does not mark. CE 54.4"

  • I don't know why we're so obsessed with Mars right now. The Moon should be our primary focus. One of the problems we have is the deep gravity well on Earth that we have to contend with. If we start mining the Moon, and using its resources to build the materials that we need for deep space travel, then we no longer have to worry about weight restrictions.
    We could build a properly safe vehicle for astronauts, without compromises. We'd also be able to sustain supply chains much more easily. We need to build a space station orbiting the Moon, and build a couple of bases on the surface. We need to get the machinery up there to process raw materials, and to turn the frozen ice into rocket fuel.

  • I went to Mars once. It’s over-rated really. I can’t say that I’d ever want to go back. Just a bunch of sand, the air sucks and it’s colder than a witch’s tit. Not a lot to do there, just a few stores and the people there aren’t very friendly.

  • I don't think these problems are insurmountable. However, we need better tech, a big ship, more speed, and a better understanding of the human body and mind.

  • We have never lleft low earth orbit that's why we've never gone back cuz we never went there to begin with why do you think nobody's been back because nobody ever went there l

  • I read that the radiation is so bad on mars that we would need to live underground for adequate shielding. If that is true That will make wintering in Antarctic seem like a Bahamas Cruise . It will get old real quick. An underground prison of seasonal depression disorder on steroids.

  • I'm 52. I'd ride a Falcon Heavy to a pre stocked landing spot on Mars tomorrow. No return trip required. Totally serious

  • Honestly, I don't care what the risks are for going to Mars. I've been fascinated with Greek mythology ever since it was introduced to me in grade school.

    I even have Medusa on my nondominant arm represent protection of my weaknesses.

    I was astonished to find that Greek mythology explained cosmology. I was surprised to find that all civilizations strive for the Stars, thereafter.

    I'm have the right personality type to journey to another planet: manifested antisocial disorder. I have the right beliefs to get the job done once I arrive to another planet: the US Army Values. I live by the correct creed to acquire the information necessary to bring back untampered data.

    I am an American Soldier.
    I am a warrior and a member of a team.
    I serve the people of the United States, and live the Army Values.
    I will always place the mission first.
    I will never accept defeat.
    I will never quit.
    I will never leave a fallen comrade.
    I am disciplined, physically and mentally tough, trained and proficient in my warrior tasks and drills.
    I always maintain my arms, my equipment and myself.
    I am an expert and I am a professional.
    I stand ready to deploy, engage, and destroy, the enemies of the United States of America in close combat.
    I am a guardian of freedom and the American way of life.
    I am an American Soldier.

    It's just who I am.

  • Temperature gets over the melting point of stainless steel after you get past 400 miles away from earth. Temperature is approximately 3600 F and gets higher. 😜

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