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Your mission to Mars: introduction

Your mission to mars: introduction
Planet Mars
© University of East Anglia

For well over a century the idea of sending a manned mission to Mars has fired the imagination of scientists, explorers and writers alike. Hundreds of schemes have been devised to put one or more people on the surface of the Red Planet and (in most cases!) return them to Earth.

However, recent experience of long-term space flight has shown that such a mission may be difficult, not just for technological reasons, but for reasons connected with human physiology.

There are two major problems, firstly, high levels of high-energy radiation can cause serious illness both during and following a space mission. Secondly, the problem of muscle loss in conditions of zero gravity. Ever since life evolved on Earth, all organisms have been subjected to the force of gravity and body structures have developed accordingly. When no gravity is present, body systems begin to deteriorate.

Take a look at this video to see how this problem is addressed in long-term space flight.

© University of East Anglia
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