The enormity of our universe is mind-boggling.
For the last century, technological advances broke new ground by enabling man to land on the Moon and to discover new data, progressively paving the way for future generations to make the incredible journey to Mars with or without the prospect of returning to Earth.
However, according to the Daily Telegraph, the technological challenge of getting to Mars may seem like a huge hurdle, but it could be biology that holds humanity back.
Scientists fear that astronauts could develop the dreaded dementia condition on their long journey because their brains will be bombarded with destructive space radiation.
The University of California found that exposure to highly negative charged particles – like those found in cosmic rays – can cause significant damage to the central nervous system, resulting in brain impairments. Charles Limoli, Professor of Radiation Oncology at UCL’s School of Medicine, considers: ‘Performance decrements, memory deficiency, and loss of awareness and focus during space-flight may effect mission-critical activities, and exposure to these particles have long-term adverse consequences to cognition throughout life.’
It would take between one hundred and three hundred and fifty days to reach Mars from Earth, depending on the speed of the launch – sufficient time for impaired thinking to develop. (The research was published in the journal Science Advances.)
The upshot of all this is that science now faces the crucial problem of finding a solution to humans’ physical ability to withstand the deadly particles that clutter the universe without damaging their mental perspicuity.
It is a major obstacle to overcome, but the ingenuity of the human brain is such that throughout the ages what was considered inconceivable has become in time the accepted norm, and the horizons of creativity continue to develop beyond our conception. Hence, the beauty of life is dazzling, despite its limited duration.