As it turns out, we have it pretty good on Earth; the planet’s magnetic field keeps us safe from most forms of harmful cosmic radiation that can damage DNA and cause cancer. But the same can’t be said about Mars, a place that NASA and SpaceX want to send astronauts for scientific study in the future.
Unlike Earth, Mars lacks a robust magnetic field, and the deep space astronauts would need to travel through to get there is particularly unshielded from this harmful radiation. Faced with these challenges, astronauts would be heavily dependent on artificial radiation shielding for protection; unfortunately, it’s not as effective as a planetary magnetic field would be.
Given the circumstances, visiting Mars may be more dangerous than initially thought, and it’s raising serious concerns about sending people to Mars for scientific exploration or for interplanetary colonization.
It should be interesting to see how space agencies will tackle this problem and whether we’ll still move forward with plans to visit the red planet in the next couple of decades. Without question, more research is needed to better understand the impacts of cosmic radiation on the human body beforehand.