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Bad cosmic weather may make manned Mars missions riskier

An increase in the levels of damaging cosmic rays in our solar system will pose massive threats to manned Mars mission endeavors in any case, which implies that the conditions may not be favourable to be in space in the following several decades, a new research reveals.

Cosmic rays are a form of high-energy radiation which can penetrate any known substance. Prolonged exposure to cosmic rays can prove harmful to organs and may also cause cancers.

According to the study's main author, Nathan Schwadron from the University of New Hampshire, though the threat of cosmic rays is "not necessarily a showstopper," it is for sure "a significant and worsening factor."

This radiation is normally deflected, though not completely, by the sun's magnetic field, with the field hitting some of the minimum levels in the past century. This is part of a natural phase that the stars like ours experience from time to time.

As a consequence, any cosmonaut in space will absorb the full dosage of the cosmic rays, considered safe in 20 percent less time which means in some 300 days as compared to about 400 days when the sun's magnetic field is more active.

This implies that an expedition to the red planet and back, which would take a minimum of one year, would entail exposure to the cosmic rays beyond the safe limits.