7 ways a trip to Mars could kill you

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7 ways a trip to Mars could kill you

7 ways a trip to Mars could kill you


The next frontier for human spaceflight is
obvious. We have to go to Mars. You might’ve heard a lot of people talking
about this recently — from tech innovators to NASA scientists, even President Obama has
made the case that we should go to Mars. So we talked to Chris McKay, a senior scientist
at NASA’s Ames research center. He’s involved in the planning of future Mars
missions, and he walked us through some of the hazards. I’m Brian Resnick, I’m a science reporter
at Vox. I will never go to Mars, and here the top
seven reasons why. Here’s number one. Your rocket could blow up before leaving Earth. This is pretty obvious. NASA has a pretty good track record with sending
astronauts to space, but we also know that there have been tragedies. For some context, the NASA space shuttle program
carried 833 people to orbit between 1981 and 2011, of which fourteen people died in
two big explosions. SpaceX has a checkered history of trying to
launch rockets and land them. Number two: So if you successfully leave Earth and it’s all safe, and it’s all good, there are
still some dangers in that journey to Mars. The biggest danger here is radiation exposure. The vacuum of space is not really empty. There’s radiation emanating from the sun,
and it goes out in all directions. There are gamma rays, and X rays, and ultraviolet
light, and all these things that can damage our cells. Here on Earth, we have a dense atmosphere
and a magnetic field that helps keep this radiation out of our daily lives. According to measurements from NASA’s Curiosity
rover, there’s more radiation on the surface of Mars than there would be on Earth. Perhaps the more worrisome risk of radiation
in space is from solar flares. Occasionally and randomly and in a way that’s
hard to predict, the sun emits very large batches of radiation in great flares. Number three: you can crash on Mars’ surface
trying to land. One thing about landing on Mars that the atmosphere
is a lot thinner. That means there’s a lot less of a cushion
— another way to think about it is there’s a lot less friction in the atmosphere that
will naturally slow your spacecraft down. You would need a system of rockets to help
you land smoothly on Mars. We saw with the Curiosity rover, that was an incredibly intricate and choreographed
maneuver to get just that one-ton rover down onto the planet. Could you imagine getting
6, 7, 10, a hundred humans down onto that planet? You would need a very complicated, very sophisticated,
and very well-tested system to help people descend down to the Martian surface. Number four: Mars’ low gravity might wreak
havoc on your bones and muscles. Many astronauts who spend six months or more on the Space Station have vision loss that doesn’t get corrected when they come back down to the Earth. There was one astronaut that went from perfect
20/20 vision to 20/100 vision just in six months. Other things that happen in the microgravity
of space is that your muscles start to deteriorate, your bones start to deteriorate, and this
can be staved off by some regular exercise, but NASA really hasn’t found a complete solution
to this problem. Think about a six-month voyage to Mars. You know once you get there, the Martian gravity
isn’t as strong as Earth’s. It’s not as light as you would be on the moon,
it’s not as heavy as you would be on Earth. So will muscles and bones and eyesight continue
to deteriorate on Mars is not yet known. Number five: your space suit or habitat could
leak, and you just can’t breathe Martian air. The pressure of Mars’ atmosphere is just
a fraction of the pressure of the earth’s atmosphere. Your house on Mars would be like the cabin
of an airplane: Any crack in your house any slit in your space
suit will lead it to depressurize … and that’s an obvious problem. Mars is filled with dust and dirt
that just gets everywhere — it could quickly clog all of your intake vents, it
could quickly destroy some of your electronics, and people could die if you inhale it. So the dream is that one day we could potentially
breathe Martian air. This is an idea that has long obsessed science
fiction authors: it’s called terraforming. And the idea is that maybe we can change the
Martian atmosphere to be more like Earth. We could start some global warming on Mars,
and raise the temperature of the planet, and entrap more greenhouse gases in. We
can raise the level of CO2 so we can start growing plants there, those plants could then
start to produce oxygen. This is probably the most far-fetched idea
out there — not to say it’s impossible, but just, it is well, well into the future. Number six: the planet Mars could literally kill you. The soil of Mars is toxic. You might have seen the movie The Martian,
where astronaut Mark Watney grows potatoes on Mars in the Martian soil. We probably shouldn’t do that. It contains a very high concentrations of
chemicals called perchlorates. These are salts that can do serious damage
to the human body, especially the thyroid. You wouldn’t want to grow your potatoes
in it. It’s okay to get Martian dirt on your hands
but you really wouldn’t want to get into your drinking water or food or get into your habitat. Number seven: your fellow travelers could
drive you crazy. This is been a surprising challenge for NASA to learn and to get over: how do you craft a crew for a spaceship that will be
alone with each other for months on end, and also be the only human beings on an entire
planet for perhaps months or years, and spending
only their time with one another? If there’s going to be a mutiny, or if there’s going to be interpersonal strife on Mars, that is an element that could be the riskiest of all. There was this project called Biosphere 2
in 1994. “Living in it was supposed to be like living
in a space colony.” It was a seven-person crew, and they split up into warring factions and the mission
had to end prematurely. So it will take some calibration to find
who are the right people for this type of mission. The first people who go to Mars should go with the expectation that they might never
come back. But that hasn’t stopped explorers for centuries:
There’s always gonna be a drive in humans to go places we’ve never been before. And for the most part, that drive is something
that has aided our survival at times. So will the risks on a trip to Mars be great? Absolutely. Should we go? Absolutely.

100 thoughts on 7 ways a trip to Mars could kill you

  1. You will need a lot of fuel to reach Mars so it will take a while. A hypothetical process of turning a planet or a moon into an Earth-like world is called terraforming, which would make it habitable by Earth-like life.

  2. Why do we "have" to go to Mars? What happened to the Moon? Is it just totally uninteresting now? Or is there a Moon base there and they're diverting us away from it by talking about Mars?

  3. Saying that your rocket could explode is like saying your plane will crash. Doesn't mean you shouldn't fly.

  4. You're really stating the obvious answers. Even me, someone who isn't into this kind of stuff, knows that these are blatant issues. Mars's atmosphere is different compared to Earth's, yet we still landed on the moon. We have space suits. Plus, with technology improving, we won't need astronauts to control the rockets in taking off, landing, or reentry. Also, the possibility of there being a slit in your space suit is very low. Astronauts train for years in advance and I'm pretty sure maintaining the suit that protects them from the air on other planets is a high priority. I came here to find science orientated things. Some things I never heard of that make me want to do my own research to fact check. But right now, you're spewing out things without much thought. I don't know if you're using a script or not, but it seems like you're making it up as you go.

  5. Even there are million ways to die I'm ready to fly to Mars….and one more interesting thing if u wanna send ur name to Mars then go to this link mars.nasa.gov

  6. Why are so many of these the same dangers as the dangers going to the moon. Go to Mars, not in open space.

  7. In the challenger disaster one of the people in the rocket was a teacher that teached at my dads school in Virginia

  8. 5 ways you could die going to the store
    1. Your car or a car crashes into you
    2. A serial killer could murder you
    3. A cop accidentally can shoot you
    4 you get a heart attack
    5. A meteor can crash into you

    Yes I know these probably won't happen

  9. Completely ignoring the fact that in "The Martian" he used the crews leftover dried feces as "fertilizer" and only grew on those patches he set up, so… Yeah you CAN grow potatoes on Mars.

    And this why I don't take Vox seriously cos they skip important details.

  10. X-rays and gamma rays are not released from the sun only infrared, visible light and ultraviolet are released from the sun

  11. I thought you would tell us something new, I feel like you have nooo idea of what you're talking about.

  12. I do think that he is finding out-of-the-way arguments to either make more content, or, well, make more content. Seriously, growing food in martian soil? That's a pretty out-of-the-way problem you would face.

  13. Sadly,

    I disagree to travel to marsh cuz we hymen’s will just destroy marsh just like we are destroying earth right now. We are like a living disease to earth, we are the worst living creature on earth cuz we only good at destroying. Why would mars be the next planet to destroy.

    I’m alright with exploding and perhaps finding Aileen’s or learning more things about our outside world.

    Besides we have earth, we also need earth,and without it we obviously could die.

    I am no scientist but my theory is that
    we should absolutely not change the global on any planet at all, there could absolutely be a reason for the planet to be in its way. We still don’t know if there are living things on that planet and they could die by the cost of it. How do I know it’s already happening on earth buddy.

    We hymen’s are the deadly one not the planet marsh.

  14. Ummmm hello, we can't even get the MOON colonized!!!!!! We will NEVER colonize Mars! It's too far, too dangerous, and WAY too costly!

  15. By the time that flights to Mars will be a thing that an above average (i mean by wage) is a thing we will be in the mid or end of the 22nd gen

  16. Earth is one of the greatest planet we ever get mother Earth is giving us everything to sustain life and we're destroying it it's shame to mankind

  17. Mars will eventually be in the inhabital zone when the sun turns into a red giant, so yeah… we should look at Mars now, rather than later.

  18. What if the 1%(goverment,rich people etc) go to mars and leave us in this planet that is dying? Just a thought dont take it seriusly

  19. I am a little disappointed with the answers i am sure some will learn something from this but dont most already know this i mean these 7 answers could be applied to going to the moon or most any other planet

  20. It rains meteorites all the time. Not much of an atmosphere to stop them. Neither your suit nor your house will be tough enough to stop them either. So you’ll probably end up full of impact craters.

  21. This guy is a science reporter?!? This video is just AWFUL. "Space X has a checkered history of trying to launch rockets…" WHAT?!?? Did you honestly just lump in the safety record of *TEST* flights of unmanned, new technology with what would be used to launch humans into space???? I mean honestly?? This is like questioning Boeing because they had a bunch of plane perform poorly in wind tunnel tests.

    If this is what passes for "Science Reporting" at Vox, please remind me to NEVER EVER EVER trust anything coming from Vox. I mean ever.

  22. Sadly we have to accept the fact that we have been born too late for earth exploration and too early for space exploration☹️

  23. Y’all can go to mars. I’m just gonna be here and enjoy margaritas. Goodbye you ambitious people. See you in heaven 🙂

  24. We can't have the atmosphere we have on earth on Mars, it would be too rarefied. The gravity isn't strong enough to keep an "atmosphere" for us.

  25. Weak magnetosphere on Mars. That's a big problem for terraforming, as that's one reason there is little atmosphere there already.

  26. you cant stop nasa so dont even try your reasons are a little good but i think going to mars is a good idea

  27. In order to terraform Mars not only would we need technology designed for the planet but we would also need to strengthen the red planets magnetic field and gravity.

  28. Yeah ik pretty sure NASA will work on every point before sending anyone. Not really sure what the point of this video is

  29. Mars is a dead rock. Seems logical to first make non-living things alive on earth before trying to live on a dead rock.

  30. I say we bombard Mars with icy asteroids. With the asteroids, we could raise the atmospheric pressure and even kickstart the magnetic field of the planet. Anyone wants to do the calculations on how much more mass it would take to do that?

  31. ur just talking about current technology and not future technology. Also to fix the radiation use radiation protective layering also, these are just coulds

  32. We can't even do it on earth. Ie: Biosphere disaster.Maybe someday in the distant future. But we are clearly not ready to do anytime in the near future. At the present, just getting there alive would be the greatest feat of humanity.

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