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Do we have the vision to go to Mars?

Stern, Claudia (2016) Do we have the vision to go to Mars? European Conference of Aerospace Medicine, 15.-18. September 2016, Oslo, Norwegen. (Unpublished)

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Mars has fascinated people since the first viewing through a telescope by Galileo Galilei in 1609. Since 1971 unmanned space crafts have been successfully sent to Mars, but only since 2012 the Mars Science Laboratory Curiosity is sending breath-taking images that let us think we know exactly how Mars looks like. The next natural step is to send humans to Mars. For this up to 1100 days long journey some steps in between are necessary to gain enough understanding and knowledge. NASA´s “Earth Reliant” exploration is focused on research aboard the International Space Station which includes human health and behavioural research, extravehicular operations and 3-D printing. The focus lays there in long-term missions of a year and longer. In the “Proving Ground”, NASA plans complex operations in a deep space, cislunar environment that allows crews to return to Earth in a matter of days. NASA will send a robotic mission to capture and redirect an asteroid to orbit the moon. Astronauts aboard the Orion spacecraft will explore the asteroid and return with samples in the mid-2020s. ESA regards the moon as the next logical destination for humans beyond low Earth orbit. Utilizing Earth's nearest neighbour should pave the way for human missions to Mars. The landing on Mars surface is planned for 2035+. There are several risk factors for the astronauts going along which such a long mission. First of all space radiation is a major concern, because the crew may be exposed to high-energy particles, including infrequent, but potentially deadly, solar particle events and constant exposure to galactic cosmic rays. These high-energy particles can increase cancer risk and change the immune system. The different gravity fields is a challenge for the astronaut as he lives in microgravity for many months and landing on Mars with 1/3 of the earth´s gravity, which may lead to cardiovascular deconditioning and trauma. Microgravity itself normally increases the risks of bone loss density and muscular atrophy. The isolation and small crew (which not the astronaut but space agencies will decide on) will cause psychological problems that researches explore in long isolation studies around the world in different habitats. Also the communication delay of up to 20 minutes can create problems especially in difficult and unforeseen situations or medical problems where the support of the ground team is very important. The Visual Impairment and Intracranial Pressure Syndrome affects more than half of long term mission astronauts. Besides changes as e.g. optic disc edema, choroidal folds and a flattening of the eyeball it often also reduce the vision. For the time being we do not know the cause and we do also not know how impacted the vision may become. What will the vision be at the arrival on Mars? To address these increased risks, new diagnostic and treatment tools, as well as countermeasures must be developed to maintain crew health.

Item URL in elib:https://elib.dlr.de/108406/
Document Type:Conference or Workshop Item (Speech)
Title:Do we have the vision to go to Mars?
AuthorsInstitution or Email of AuthorsAuthor's ORCID iD
Stern, Claudiainstitut für luft- und raumfahrtmedizin, operationelle medizinUNSPECIFIED
Date:18 September 2016
Refereed publication:No
Open Access:No
Gold Open Access:No
In ISI Web of Science:No
Keywords:Mars, Astronaut, analogue
Event Title:European Conference of Aerospace Medicine
Event Location:Oslo, Norwegen
Event Type:international Conference
Event Dates:15.-18. September 2016
HGF - Research field:Aeronautics, Space and Transport
HGF - Program:Space
HGF - Program Themes:Research under Space Conditions
DLR - Research area:Raumfahrt
DLR - Program:R EW - Space Exploration
DLR - Research theme (Project):R - Vorhaben Nutzerzentrum Forschung unter Weltraumbedingungen (old)
Location: Köln-Porz
Institutes and Institutions:Institute of Aerospace Medicine > Medical Operations
Deposited By: Stern, Claudia
Deposited On:07 Feb 2017 10:49
Last Modified:08 Feb 2017 09:38

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