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Mars astronauts may be risking DNA damage

France,Health/Medicine,Science/Tech, Mon, 23 Apr 2012 IANS

Moscow, April 23 (IANS/RIA Novosti) Future astronauts working on the Red Planet's surface risk general changes in health at the DNA level because of an increased radiation exposure, a prominent Russian academic has said.


Anatoly Grigoryev, the deputy head of Russia's Academy of Sciences, said it Monday during a presentation at the International Symposium on the results of ground-based experiment Mars-500.


"According to our estimates, researchers on the surface of Mars can expect a number of adverse factors, such as cardiac arrhythmia, reduced stability and performance, sensory impairments, as well as more long-term consequences in the form of changes at the DNA level, and demineralisation of bone tissue," said Grigoryev.


In addition, according to the academic, astronauts could also face a number of adverse psycho-physiological factors during the flight to Mars, such as hypokinesia (decreased motor activity), monotony and frustration.


According to the material published on the results of preliminary processing of scientific data, obtained during the 520-day isolation volunteers, after leaving the laboratory module, all participants of the experiment of ground simulation of the flight to the Red Planet fully preserved the health and performance.


The unique Moscow-based Mars-500 experiment was completed Nov 4. It attempted to recreate at least some of the conditions of a flight to the Red Planet by locking six men away in a mock spacecraft.


They spent 520 days in an environment simulating space flight.


The six volunteers - researcher Alexander Smoleyevsky, flight engineer Roman Charles, crew commander Alexei Sitev, medical doctor Sukhrob Kamolov, and researchers Diego Urbina and Wang Yueh - were isolated from the outside world in a specially designed complex simulating a spaceship.


--IANS/RIA Novosti




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