In more bad news for future voyagers to Mars, a team of scientists at the Georgetown University Medical Center (GUMC) has found the kind of Galactic Cosmic Radiation (GCR) that astronauts will encounter on long space voyages can cause heavy damage to their gastrointestinal (GI) tract.
Using animal tissue bombarded by artificial cosmic ray particles, the researchers found that the radiation produces both immediate and long term health problems.
Decades of investigation into the field of space medicine has revealed that space is much more hostile to the human body than once thought. This is especially true of the hazards posed by prolonged exposure to cosmic radiation during long deep-space missions, such as to the planet Mars.
These hazards include increased risks of cancers such as leukemia, damage to the brain and nervous tissue, as well as general radiation sickness. But now it appears that even the GI tract can be affected, with immediate damage to the digestive system and long term danger of increased cancer risks.