How Radiation in Space Threatens Exploration [Infographic]

June 12, 2013 |  by  |  Health, Mind-Blowing

Space exploration has been a dream for human beings for an eternity. To seek out new life and new civilizations–to boldly go where no one has gone before. I just wanna Star Trek it up; it would be so great, but I guess there’s always the Alien/Prometheus scenario. That wouldn’t be so great. So far we’ve travelled to the moon, but after reading this infographic, anything outside of that doesn’t look too optimistic at the moment.

So, apparently there’s a lot of radiation in space. Perhaps it’s Galactic Cosmic Rays, or perhaps it’s because of all of the crazy star matter that our sun is throwing at us. Either way, it seems like it’s significant enough to do some damage to the poor DNA in long-term space goers. Luckily for us Earthlings, our magnetic field keeps us safe from this endless radiation threatening to turn us into mutants (maybe it would be cool if we were mutants though…). But, if we were to send humans on a mars mission for instance, even in the shortest amount of time conceivable, the likelihood of said explorer getting fatal cancers will increase by 5.5%. Yowza.

If we are to realize our continuing mission of human exploration, we need to find a way around this radiation business. I wanna be a star fleet officer, dammit.

Do you think this might be an easy problem to overcome (radiation shields?), or does it stamp out any chance of long-term space exploration?


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  • Gerson

    Is any research being conducted on artificial magnetic fields, that would shield spacecraft, structures or even space suits?

    • Vlazgax

      I find it hard to believe that such a thing would be feasible since it would consume energy and that is what you need in space to be able to travel long distances. I would probably go for a physical shield instead of magnetic fields.

  • Matt Sowersbry

    This is basically the concept of FTL really isn’t it? ‘Perma-death’.

    Well I know the solution. Save the game where you want to then exit and copy your savegame file in your documents folder to another location and when you die of radiation poisoning in deep space, just restore the copied savegame file to your FTL folder in my documents. Savegame restored.

    Astronauts are supposed to be smart they should have worked this out by now

  • muthhkrat

    gold foils or films

  • Murph

    It doesn’t say but I’m assuming the travel time is based on the ‘throw’ model of interplanetary voyages, where after an initial boost you coast to your destination, adding to the time spent in a radioactive environment (using the space-probe info from here I get an average of 225 days)

    However we could build a constant boost ship that could accelerate at 1/1000 of a Gravity by using a “solar sail”, with the added benefit that the sail itself could block a lot of radiation
    At 1/1000 G the trip to Mars would take about 10 weeks instead of 30, eliminating 2/3′s of the radiation exposure

  • Billy Kravitz

    they’re already working on a microscopic carbon tube radiation shield cloth and engineers already have bazer engines that may shorted the Mars run to a matter of weeks… Oh yeah, nasa is also doing research on a warp drive type vehicle that will ‘compress’ space ahead of the craft & ‘expand’ it behind (for real, they think they can do this) which would make star fleet a very real possibility… MAn, I can’t wait to get some of those velour shirts!


    Good information