In recent times private companies have made a footprint on space history.
A man free fell from the edge of space, thanks to Red Bull.
Burt Rutan was inspired by a Native American tale of ambitious birds and made planes that soared into space.
PayPal co-owner Elon Musk created SpaceX and sends payloads to the International Space Station (ISS).
Governments around the world still struggle to launch rockets properly and most developed countries use their space programs to place satellites in trajectories. Other than that, the European Space Agency developed modules onboard the ISS and Russian rockets handle all of NASA’s astronaut space flights.
Mars One, which was originally backed by London TV production company Endemol, calls for a mission to the Red Planet in a hasty fashion.
Today there seems like no time to send a man to Mars. America’s Mercury, Gemini and Apollo eras all put emphasis on manned space flight. After the space race, NASA focused on Earth studies, rover exploration and deep space objects. Man was not ready to visit galaxies far, far away.
Getting anything into space, functioning and prepared for duty is astronomical work. NASA is not even considering manned Mars exploration until 2060. It is technology that is holding us back.
This is no easy task. There is no easy way of saying this either, available technology does not match up with a Marvel film. Despite what a Sony commercial looks like or how a hero uses technology in a film, people should not believe that life has all the cool gizmos in all the right places.
In December 2013 China landed the Jade Rabbit rover on the Moon. Solar radiation and frostbite killed the rover’s driving unit after the first lunar night. In 2014, Orbital Sciences Corp. launched a payload intended to reach ISS. It blew up on the launch pad. Orbital has lost three rockets in a similar fashion within the last six years.
Last year the Rosetta satellite aimed to land on an asteroid, but failed to fire harpoons intended to wheel her into position permanently. The landing botched and Rosetta fell into the dark shadows of the asteroid.
Mars One is not getting anyone on to the fourth planet.
Star Trek’s Dr. Leonard “Bones” McCoy always had a way of reminding the U.S.S. Enterprise that impending doom was lurked over the shoulder. Our space ships may take hits and mankind does not yet have the ability to yell “shields up!”
Space suits, vehicles and habitat modules still do not protect human bodies from solar energetic particles and galactic cosmic rays, which can range from mild to deadly.
Our solar system is littered by particles cast this way by exploding stars or burping black holes. It is called Space Weather.
Space is not cute. It is ghastly.
Cosmic rays will penetrate astronauts attempting to reach Mars or deep space. Astronauts onboard ISS are somewhat protected from some cosmic rays because ISS orbits within the Earth’s protective magnetosphere, past there, however, the solar system is a sketchy neighborhood.
Studies from John Hopkins showed that particles flying through space will become quantum-sized bullets to human physiology, affecting the way proteins order themselves in the brain, ultimately leading to a dull reaction time.
At Brookhaven National Laboratory on Long Island, New York, mice received high-energy radiation from a collider replicating the same amounts an astronaut would receive on a long space mission.
For 250 days the mice were run through daily fitness tests set to measure exactly how fit for duty the brain of a mouse could be after radiation exposure. Results revealed that transport systems for dopamine, needed for alertness, may be impaired. About 45 percent of the mice showed attention-related defects. Of those, 64 percent had lapses in attention.
With medical issues in the field of space medicine, doctors and engineers are finding the umbilical cord between human bodies and Earth difficult to detach. Long endurance space flights are a problem. The longer the journey through space, the more bodily damage.
Dr. Michael Barratt, an astronaut assigned to Expedition 19/20 on board ISS, began suffering visual impairments shortly after arriving in space. Barratt examined the medical records of astronauts who reported the same abnormality.
Having been undiscovered, it was unknown to NASA that a percentage of astronauts exposed to microgravity develop intracranial hypertension that applies pressure to the fluid inside the eye, creating blurry vision.
Blurry vision is not the only problem. Human hearts get smaller and rounder because there is no gravity in space, and they have no reason to work as hard. NASA researchers worry astronauts will pass out while returning to gravity on Earth or landing on Mars. Every living organism is inextricably tied to Mother Earth.
It is home.
In order to travel to Mars, the human body needs the livable conditions of Earth replicated in space. Right now, though, that technology does not exist.
Future astronauts need to be logical and aware of themselves, like Mr. Spock.
Space crews are required to function in synchronization. Very few know about the Mars 500 mission composed of an international crew of astronauts conducted in 2011. In a study published by The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the crew played a mock mission to Mars in the confinements of an isolated facility for 520 days. By monitoring sleep and light cycles inside the cabins, researchers delved into the dynamics of astronaut’s vulnerability to a neurological condition referred to as hypokinesis. If a body does not move enough in space, muscles and memory get sluggish. Despite not being in space, astronauts in Mars500 suffered hypokinesis because as the mission advanced, crew members moved less around the ship. Some crew members became lethargic and would avoid light completely.
By not getting enough light, sleep patterns were disorganized. Desynchronization occurred when members took away or added hours of their sleep.
If crews are not working attentively, accidents in space are likely.
Space is a dark, cold and dangerous place, but the human condition encourages itself to push the biological boundaries of our minds and bodies. The universe may never roll out a welcome mat, but be advised, we are coming anyway.