Mars is the planet of most significant interest to the human being since time unknown. Humans began exploring this planet during the 1960s but it was only in 2006 that the Mars Global Surveyor mission was operated. This mission was launched in 1996.
Just like the travel to the moon, it took humans a lot of false hopes and small breakthroughs to determine for certain what this planet is all about. Amidst the general buzz created by all the human and robotic trips to Mars, Hollywood movie producers saw it as an opportunity to create films based on Mars and what could be its inhabitants. All these only stirred the human interest about Mars even more.
Based on the initial findings about this terrestrial planet that is half the diameter of Earth, it is less dense, has a red-orange appearance and consists of various minerals. Water in its liquid form is believed to not exist in Mars because of its low atmospheric pressure but water in its ice form is believed to be present in large quantities.
Since these findings, humans have long showed interest in exploring Mars more for the hope of maybe knowing if in fact a human can live there. Lichens have been studied by Germans to have survived in simulated Mars conditions. Humans, on the other hand, can only dream of surviving in Mars at the mean time.
What’s In It For Humans?
Have you heard of the Mars One project? This is the human settlement project that aims to transport willing individuals to Mars by 2024. As crazy as it may sound, the program already received around 200,000 applications for a one-way ticket to Mars.
You can just imagine what these applicants are thinking to make this crazy application. But then, if this program pushes through and humans do survive in Mars, it could be the biggest breakthrough that all scientists are praying for.
While settling into Mars may sound like a good idea to some who have got nothing to lose, medical experts now say that the human heart may not successfully handle the trip, more so, staying there for good.
What Happens to the Human Heart?
Anyone who is interested in living or at least taking a trip to Mars should know that it is an unbelievably long flight. We are not talking about 17-hour flights but an 18-month spaceflight. This study was released by NASA after they took ultrasound images of the heart of 12 astronauts who have been recently sent to Mars before, during, and after their six-month stay in Mars.
Now everyone must realize how valuable this is to every human being who dreams of travelling to Mars. Scientists have now confirmed that the microgravity in space and in Mars caused the human heart to be spherical in shape by roughly 10%. Because of this, the heart does not work as hard and therefore is not as efficient as it would be on earth.
After the six-month stint in Mars, the astronauts’ hearts returned back to its normal and typical shape shortly after they have returned back to earth. There were no untoward side effects documented but long-term studies are not available as of this moment. Remember that these astronauts were only at Mars for a six-month period with 18-month spaceflight.
In addition to medical concerns, scientists are also worried that humans may develop or have psychological problems due to the very long spaceflight. Can you imagine staying sane after an 18-month spaceflight? It is simply terrifying though a lot of astronauts have conquered this fear. As a result, scientists are looking at hibernating humans who plan to travel to Mars. However, as expected, this poses a lot of medical concerns.
For now, it is definitely not a good idea to travel to Mars especially for those with heart problems. This explains fully why NASA only accepts humans at the peak of their health with no underlying medical illnesses. More studies will surely be undertaken by medical scientists to determine the effect on the human heart and what could possibly be done. Until then, we can only wait.