MOSCOW: A round trip to Mars will expose space travellers to dangerously high levels of solar radiation that is estimated to shorten their lifespan by two years and a half, a research has found.
The report on how solar energetic particles might affect cosmonauts on a mission to Mars will be unveiled at the conference on space biology and aerospace medicine underway in Moscow.
"Assessments have been made of the impact that radiation, received during a long flight to Mars of up to three years during peak solar activity and with varying density of aluminum protection, might have on a cosmonaut's total lifespan," the report read.
The study concluded that a standard human organism travelling to the Mars orbit at a high velocity inside a simple spherical spacecraft "on a two-year expedition to Mars and back (will be exposed to) a combined radiation risk during their lifetime, regardless of age, behind a radiation shield of 20 grams per square centimetre, estimated at 7.5 per cent, with an average lifespan reduction of 2.5 years."
Russian scientists will suggest using sleeping bags with water insulation and mineral water consumption to mitigate the harmful effect of solar radiation.
"(Among the measures) up for consideration is the use of sleeping bags that have water gel or polyethylene powder as insulator. Water and plastic have light elements in them, such as hydrogen, which protect against primary and secondary neutrons," the research read.
The supply of drinking water, the research further says, needs to have a certain mineral composition as solutions containing silver ions, for instance, can amplify the pathogenic effect of ionizing radiation. Consumption of preservatives should be avoided for the same reason.
Russian President Vladimir Putin said in March that a manned mission to Mars was one of the country's goals, alongside lunar and deep space exploration. Last year, Russian scientists began psychological experiments to see how a mixed crew of people from different countries can fare in simulated isolation.