Archive for the ‘space’ Category

Mars travellers risk permanent brain damage from cosmic radiation

November 21, 2016

Mars-goers may face permanent brain damage from cosmic radiation Oct. 12, 2016 Deep space travel could cause serious, irreversible brain damage, NBC News reports. Scientists have long known that leaving Earth’s magnetosphere—the magnetic bubble of plasma surrounding our planet—strips astronauts of their protection from radioactive particles, putting them at higher risk for health issues, including heart disease. Now, a new study out this week in Scientific Reports suggests that changes at the cellular level could also lead to worsened anxiety and even brain cancer. That could be bad news for NASA and other commercial space companies that want to send humans to the Red Planet by 2030. But NASA is working on it: The agency is researching methods to prevent exposure to radiation, which could find their way into new, improved space suits.  http://www.sciencemag.org/news/sifter/mars-goers-may-face-permanent-brain-damage-cosmic-radiation

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Killer radiation puts a damper on fast space travel

December 28, 2012

Super-Fast Space Travel Would Kill You In Minutes http://www.gizmodo.com.au/2012/11/super-fast-space-travel-would-kill-you-in-minutes/ JAMIE CONDLIFFE, 6 Nov 12, Everyone thinks it would be cool to travel at the speed of light, which is why scientists devote their lives to working out if it would be possible and NASA is trying to develop its own warp drive. But easy, tiger: turns out super-fast space travel would be fatal. A paper published in Natural Science  brings some boring common sense to the speed-of-light-travel table. In order to travel huge distances in next to no time, people need to travel close to the speed of light. In so doing, travellers cover extremely large distances very quickly, and thanks to the quirks of relativity, it would feel like it took mere minutes because of an effect known as time dilation , which squashes perceived time.

The trouble is that travelling close to the speed of light brings about other effects too. In Natural Science , Edelstein and Edelstein point out that hydrogen in any craft cable of travelling at the speed of light would also prevent it from travelling at the speed of light. They explain :

Unfortunately, as spaceship velocities approach the speed of light, interstellar hydrogen H, although only present at a density of approximately 1.8 atoms/cm3, turns into intense radiation that would quickly kill passengers and destroy electronic instrumentation. In addition, the energy loss of ionizing radiation passing through the ship’s hull represents an increasing heat load that necessitates large expenditures of energy to cool the ship.

In other words, travel close to the speed of light and you’ll be bombarded with so much radiation that you kick the bucket. The knock-on effect is that even if it’s possible to create a craft capable of travelling close the speed of light, it wouldn’t be able to transport people.

Instead, there’s a natural speed limit imposed by safe levels of radiation due to hydrogen, which means humans couldn’t travel faster than half the speed of light unless they were willing to die almost immediately. Dammit. [Natural Science ]

Danger of nuclear powered spacecraft

August 16, 2012

The problem — a huge one and not mentioned whatsoever by World Nuclear News — involves accidents with space nuclear power systems releasing radioactivity impacting on people and other life on Earth. That has already happened. With more space nuclear operations, more atomic mishaps would be ahead.

are subject to falling back to Earth and raining deadly radioactivity on human beings and other life on this planet.

The Push for More Spaceborne Nuclear Russian Roulette HUFFINGTON POST, Karl Grossman, Investigative reporter  07/31/2012 World Nuclear News, the information arm of the World Nuclear Association that seeks to boost the use of atomic energy, last week heralded a NASA Mars rover slated to land on Mars on Monday, the first Mars rover fueled with plutonium.

“A new era of space exploration is dawning through the application of nuclear energy for rovers on Mars and the Moon, power generation at future bases on the surfaces of both and soon for rockets that enable interplanetary travel,” began a dispatch  from World Nuclear News. It was headed: “Nuclear ‘a stepping stone’ to space exploration.”

In fact, in space as on Earth there are safe, clean alternatives to nuclear power. Indeed, right now a NASA space probe energized by solar energy is on its way to Jupiter, a mission which for years NASA claimed could not be accomplished without nuclear power providing onboard electricity. Solar propulsion of spacecraft has begun. And scientists, including those at NASA, have been working on using solar energy and other safe power sources for human colonies on Mars and the moon. (more…)