As space agencies like NASA and private companies like SpaceX are gearing up for future Mars missions, a new study report has shared an alarming fact that the brain of astronauts will suffer a lot during these space journeys. The new study revealed that exposure to low-dose radiation in space will cause impairments in the brain, finally resulting in learning disorders and anxiety.
The study report published in the journal eNeuro revealed that brains of the mice were negatively affected when exposed to low-dose space radiation, and such a situation will arise in the human brain too during space journeys.
During the study, scientists exposed mice to low-dose space radiation for six months and found that signaling in the prefrontal cortex and hippocampus were impaired. As cortex and hippocampus were impaired, mice faced issues with learning and memory. Mice also showed weird behavior after getting exposed to radiation, and it indicated that they also started suffering from anxiety.
"This study now shows that radiation delivered at space relevant dose rates over extended times elicits adverse neurocognitive effects similar to our past studied using dose rates that were about 400 times higher," said Charlies Limoli, a professor of radiation oncology at the University of California, and the lead author of the study.
It revealed that one out of five astronauts traveling to Mars may face anxiety. The report also suggested that one in three could face issues with memory, while all five may face difficulties in the decision-making process.
A few months back, Marco Durante, an Italian physicist had revealed that it is difficult to take humans to Mars using current technologies. Durante also cited space radiation as the most difficult issue to address during space journeys.
"One day in space is equivalent to the radiation received on Earth for a whole year. The real problem is the large uncertainty surrounding the risks. We don't understand space radiation very well and the long-lasting effects are unknown. As it stands today, we can't go to Mars due to radiation. It would be impossible to meet acceptable dose limits," said Durante.