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Scientific progress

08 - 03 - 2007

Mars: a planet too far away?

Research teams are studying the impact of a trip to Mars on human health. Will, three years in microgravity spent in contact with the radiation of interplanetary space, leave the body of the astronauts intact?

Probably not. In vitro and in vivo mouse studies show, for example, that human hematopoietic stem cells weakened by radiation will no longer be able to produce enough immune cells and red blood cells, leaving astronauts immunocompromised and anaemic. This increases the risk of leukaemia, due to genetic mutations due to spatial radiation and the inability of the weakened immune system to eliminate these malignant cells.

Researchers are trying to find treatments to make such a journey possible without risking the travellers’ health.