Astronauts on their way to Mars will need to deal with the higher levels of radiation which is linked to a number of cancers, particularly leukaemia. Most space research organisations are developing a new line of space medicine for astronauts. Space medicine is health technology designed for astronauts to keep them safe and health in space mission. So future space missions have reduced and less levels of carcinogens that astronauts are subjected to.
The solution, according to Ghidini, is some elegant engineering. The ESA is planning to use the fluids that are already onboard – like drinking water for the astronauts or propellants – and store them around areas where the astronauts sleep to give them the best radiation for the longest time.
The near zero G environment in space could cause a new problem for astronauts’ bones: they may be at risk of shattering. The answer, says Ghidini, could lie in 3D bio-printing, where human skin, bones, and even organs could be printed on-demand in spacecraft or on the planet’s surface.
Keeping astronauts in good mental health is another priority for the ESA’s researchers. Food, according to Ghidini, will be one source of distraction for the space travellers. Ghidini’s team has already 3D printed a pizza to show how on-demand food could help break the monotony of space dining.
Ghidini hopes that technology created for future Mars missions will eventually be used to improve the conditions for people here. And those next-generation technologies will have to be greener, too.
Space medicine is health technology