Lately, the idea that man will soon visit the red planet is becoming more and more intense. However, one of the biggest problems that exists is hazardous radiation during long space flights, like the ones we will need to get to Mars. Scientists have expressed concern for the safety of humans, since it exists fear of possible brain damage, gastrointestinal problems and the development of cancer that could be caused by a trip to Mars.
A new study suggests that these security-related issues could be addressed if the trip to Mars is done at the right time.
"This study shows that while space radiation imposes severe constraints and poses technological difficulties for sending humans to Mars, such a mission is still viable.", Says the document published this month in Space Weather magazine.
The scientific document states that they exist two main types of hazardous radiation: Solar Energetic Particles (SEP) coming from the sun and Galactic Cosmic Rays (GCR) coming from other galaxies. The intensity and evolution of both depend on solar activity. The activity of Galactic Cosmic Rays is further enhanced during the so-called solar minimum and decreases during the solar maximum. In contrast, the intensity of Solar Energetic Particles is maximized during the solar maximum and minimized during the solar minimum. The solar minimum is the period with the lowest solar activity in the 11 years that a solar cycle lasts. Respectively the solar maximum is the period with the greatest solar activity.
The researchers point out that ideal time for people to travel to Mars is at solar maximum, when the sun is at its highest level of activity.
"Scientists' calculations show that it could be possible to protect a spaceship from energy particles from the sun, because during solar maximum the most dangerous particles from distant galaxies are deflected due to increased solar activity." stated the UCLA on Wednesday.
If the voyage takes place during this time, spacecraft designers should focus on protecting astronauts from Solar Energetic Particles, after the impact of the dangerous Galactic Cosmic Rays will be reduced. The research team suggests that the trip to Mars and the return to Earth should be done in less than four years, in order to be safe.
The average flight to Mars takes about nine months, so depending on the launch time and fuel available, it is possible that a human mission could reach the planet and return to Earth. Earth in less than two years.
In the coming years it is expected that the trip to Mars will be able to take place in a shorter period of time and will coincide better with the solar maximum.