Astronauts May Suffer Brain Damage From a Mars Mission

A new study suggests that astronauts exploring the solar system on a Mars mission might experience brain damage because of exposure to space radiation. If the results are confirmed by other research, they could have implications for the feasibility of NASA's planned Mars mission, set to take place sometime in the 2030s. In the study, published Friday in the journal Science Advances, scientists bombarded mice with doses of charged particles that simulate those that astronauts would be exposed to on a trip to Mars. The researchers' goal was to see how the brains of the rodents changed afterward, and the results weren’t exactly heartening for future space explorers. The researchers involved in the study concluded that astronauts' cumulative radiation exposure during a Mars mission, which would likely take up to three years, might have cause them to have difficulty focusing or performing certain tasks.