Radiation Might Make Mars a Suicide Mission
There’s no SPF for this. The U.S., China, Russia and Elon Musk are dying to go to Mars, but there’s a hitch. Recent experiments suggest that cosmic rays — high-energy particles from black holes and exploding stars — may bombard space travelers with far more radiation than previously known. The particles don’t just cause cancer: They damage DNA so that mutated cells trigger nearby healthy cells to also mutate. While Earth’s atmosphere and magnetic field protect us at home, space agencies hope advances in shielding might someday do the same for cosmic voyagers.