NASA is making all kinds of preparations for its Mars mission, and there are plenty of obstacles to overcome before setting off on the journey. The main purpose of the scientists is to find the best way to protect the astronauts and have even considered DNA altering as the most suitable solution. Conventional drug therapies might fail during an extensive space journey, so they had to resort to something a bit more extreme.
DNA altering might create the body’s own mechanism against radiation
Earth is surrounded by a magnetosphere, which can protect us from the dangerous radiation coming from the Sun. However, once reaching outer space, this protection is gone, and all astronauts who go on long journey remain exposed to the deadly rays of the Sun. These rays are full of high energy particles, which can seriously put astronauts at risk of developing cancer and other serious diseases.
NASA tried to find possible treatments to protect the astronauts from radiation. However, drugs might not be strong enough for complete protection, so the scientists had to ponder less traditional methods as well, such as DNA altering.
NASA has several other methods to protect the astronauts against the deadly sun
They think that modifying several gene sequences in the DNA of the astronauts would trigger the organism to perform certain instructions. These instructions should make up the body’s own defense against radiation. However, DNA altering comes with its own ethical concerns, which still need considering.
Until the technology gets advanced enough and all ethical problems are ruled out, scientists suggested other methods as well. These include a protective shield to surround the spaceship, protective suits, or even an artificial magnetosphere which should work just like the magnetic field around Earth does. While the first two options are somehow easier to fulfill, the third one is way too complicated to become a reality in the near future.
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