April 3, 2008 | David F. Coppedge

Mars Lacks Safety Shield for Humans

Forget all those optimistic, futuristic sci-fi tales of humans landing on Mars.  It isn’t safe, said Space.com.  NASA’s space radiation program doubts that a human body could survive prolonged exposure to space.  This is a problem for long stays on the moon, too.
    “The magnetic field of Earth protects humanity from radiation in space that can damage or kill cells,” Charles K. Choi wrote.  “Once beyond this shield, people become far more vulnerable.”  Another article on Space.com showed that “solar tsunamis” on the sun cause coronal mass ejections that “can launch damaging material at Earth and the other the planets.”  Earthlings are protected by the home planet’s magnetic field, but astronauts would be exposed to the full brunt of the explosions.
    Current ideas for shielding from high-energy cosmic rays and solar eruptions are impractical.  Would astronauts want to stay imprisoned in a lava tube?

No worries, mate.  Seth Shostak just told us our planet ain’t privileged (04/01/2008).  We’ll throw another prawn on the Mars barbie and let Ol’ Sol cook it up fine and dandy.  Still worried?  We got lots of lava tubes.  We’re all mates down unda.

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