It is all well to come up with the doom and it cant be done scenarios, but why aren't these supposedly smart people working on ways to reduce the danger instead of constantly knocking the future of space travel.
And we are expected to still believe they went to the moon. At some point they need to be honest... they landed the stuff there... maybe... but people never actually went. There should be extremely high res photos possible but ... nope.. nothing
Rocky Stefano
@Green_Grasshopper, I'm sure they have, however, as noted, nothing that we have today is likely good enough to stop the highest energy bursts from penetrating the hull. Unless we can come up with Star Trek "type" shields I very much doubt you can guarantee any level of safety for an astronaut. Those types of shields require energy sources we simply do not have today.
The radiation has been known for years but this hasn't stopped the space travel fans from hyping a trip to Mars in the near future. This also highlights the earth's incredible shielding that makes it habitable for us. It also implies the high probability that Mars is sterile despite once having abundant water. Any trip to Mars will likely be one way and colonization fairly short.
Unless lead can be mined on the moon, water is the next best shield to use to block out cosmic radiation. That is available on the moon. A spacecraft with a circular rotating torus section, like that shown in the movie, "Mission to Mars" with water in the outer walls to provide the protection from cosmic radiation. The rotation also provides artificial gravity.
The author has missed an extremely important part of the equation. For the two most serious issues --- cosmic radiation damage and muscle and bone atrophy from weightlessness --- good solutions already exist. But these solutions are heavy and very expensive to launch into space. The easy solution for cosmic radiation is to use water as a shield for radiation and replace it with human waste. Water (or any hydrogen-based molecule) is an excellent cosmic radiation shield and could also be drank and used as a source of fuel and oxygen. Its problem is its weight. Weightlessness can be handled by using a revolving structure that substitutes centrifugal force for gravity. This structure would be both heavy and complex, but worthwhile. Neither of these is new, but what has changed is that SpaceX has dramatically lowered (by almost 90% for high-velocity launches) with reusability and weight is no longer as intimidating as in the past.
The article is fascinating, but CharlieSeattle's comment is even better. And that's because instead of just identifying a seemingly insurmountable problem, it proposes a solution. Beyond that, going to Mars appears to be the only possible space mission of any sort that really gets the blood stirring. But what about after that? Pretty much nothing. Oh, robotic probes here and there are still worthwhile, but this is fairly minor stuff. What we need to be working on is the technology that would take us far beyond our the neighborhood of our Sun, that would make us truly interstellar, able to travel between star systems in moments rather than centuries or millennia. And with no ill effects. But so far as I'm aware, the main roadblock to anything of the sort is our own scientific community, which insists that no such possibility exists. And perhaps they're right. But there's at least a slim chance that they're wrong, and I believe it would actually be worth spending billions or even trillions of dollars to find out, even if it all ends up being a waste. In this regard, those dreamers berated as wearers of tinfoil hats are worthier of honor than those who insist on limitations as defined by this moment in human history.
Get there faster! This would limit exposure time. Make the trip in weeks and not in years. Robert Glazer.
Jan Garber
I wonder if there is anything that attracts this radiation? Maybe something that could be used like a lightening rod.
This kind of research is great because it can be done here on Earth relatively cheap. Unlike what NASA does on the ISS that costs crazy amounts of money and returns little concrete scientific results. That is probably why they do so many PR stunts as they don't have much science to talk about. I say get rid of the ISS (lower Earth orbit is an unrealistic environment to research space travel anyway) and give that money to research projects like this one and other robotic efforts that actually have an objective and give back substantial results. Tired of the monkeys in space doing low gravity somersaults.