Sorry Elon Musk, but colonising Mars is unlikely

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Lance Kennedy
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Re: Sorry Elon Musk, but colonising Mars is unlikely

Post by Lance Kennedy » Fri Aug 17, 2018 11:35 pm


Sorry, but you are incorrect. Certainly we carry microorganisms from birth. But we need only eliminate the pathogens and keep the rest. Not at all impossible, or even difficult. For example, simply making sure that all the colonists spend the first two weeks of their journey to Mars on potent antibiotics will ensure no harmful bacteria. After that, they can reinfect themselves with useful bacteria.

Eliminating candidates with the cold or influenza (quarantine needed) will ensure no such viruses carried.


Re radiation.
There was a Scientific American article on radiation hazards off Earth a few years back. Cosmic rays, which are mostly high energy protons, are the worst. However, there are ways of taking care of that problem. For example, three meters of water forms a shield that stops them ( the hydrogen interacts and stops the protons in their tracks), or nine meters of rock will do the same. An alternative is based on the fact that the protons are charged, and can be diverted by a suitable magnetic field. We do not yet know how to create such a field, but it is definitely doable in theory.

The intensity of cosmic rays is such that an astronaut who stayed at the ISS would receive two sieverts per year. This is essentially being struck by 6 million protons over that time. The impact is an increase in cancer risk. But probably not more than about 1% increase in risk per year. Since average cancer risk is 38%, this increases the astronauts risk to under 39%. A return voyage to Mars would take six months each way, so would be equivalent. Living on Mars for the rest of your life would carry a similar risk, but the atmosphere, even thin as it is, would reduce it somewhat. Living in a cave nine meters down would reduce the risk to zero.

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Re: Sorry Elon Musk, but colonising Mars is unlikely

Post by TJrandom » Sat Aug 18, 2018 7:22 am

OK ya got me, nothing to it, east peasy... ;)