A large body of published research suggests that space travel can be brutal on the human body — bone density decreases, muscles atrophy, the immune system weakens — and countermeasures are needed if large numbers of people routinely live and work in space. tuesday

But the authors of the new research said they see nothing so far that would prevent humanity’s continued expansion into space, including long-duration missions to Mars.

Christopher Mason, professor of physiology and biophysics at Weill Cornell Medicine and one of the leaders of the new research, said: “There is no showstopper. “There’s no reason why we can’t get to Mars safely.”

In a conference call with reporters, Mason noted that women are better able to withstand the stress of spaceflight, which is related to the ability to give birth and “tolerate large changes in physiology and fluid dynamics.”

This is a preliminary finding, and researchers would be interested to see more women in the crew of astronauts involved in these studies, said Susan Bailey, a biologist at Colorado State University who is part of the research effort. He also noted that previous studies have suggested that women exposed to space radiation may be more susceptible to certain types of cancer.

The largest repository of new data, named the Space Omics and Medical Atlas (SOMA), has been publicly released and detailed. Research Papers Published in Nature Portfolio Journals. This is the most comprehensive medical database showing what happens to astronauts when they leave the comfortable terrain on which our species evolved.

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The probes rely heavily on Inspiration4, a privately funded, all-civilian orbital mission launched by SpaceX in 2021. Four volunteers spent three days in space and provided bio-samples before, during and after the mission. The researchers also looked at medical and biological studies of 64 NASA astronauts.

Humans have been going into space for the past 63 years, but scientists are still trying to figure out what happens to bodies and minds unaccustomed to the zero gravity and radiation environment beyond the atmosphere.

As commercial spaceflight develops and national space agencies focus anew on sending people to the Moon and eventually Mars, scientists and medical professionals hope to develop new drugs and tools to reduce or repair the damage caused by prolonged exposure to space.

“While innovations in the space industry make these ambitions technologically achievable, biomedical challenges for personnel in these extraterrestrial habitats still need to be addressed, as humans are not evolved to survive in such extreme environments,” a report says.

Mason said there were no “red flags” that would prevent a trip to Mars, but Afshin Beheshti, a researcher at the Blue Marble Space Institute of Science, said a paper raised a “yellow flag” — a high risk of kidney stones.

“Kidney stones, halfway through Mars, how are you going to treat that?” Beheshti said.

The most significant risk of long-duration space travel may not be physiological. Astronauts working in confined spaces for long periods of time may face problems with social cohesion, the researchers noted. Because no one wants to have a bad roommate.

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