Human kidneys will not withstand a flight to Mars: the dream of space will have to be postponed until the invention of new drugs or technologies - ForumDaily
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Human kidneys will not withstand a flight to Mars: the dream of space will have to be postponed until the invention of new drugs or technologies

After landing on the Moon, humanity has long dreamed of an expedition to Mars. But there is one obstacle. According to researchers who published an article in the journal Nature Communications, the human body may not be able to cope with such a journey. It is very likely that astronauts' kidneys will be irreversibly damaged by cosmic radiation during a multi-year mission to the Red Planet, writes US News.

Фото: Depositphotos

A round trip to Mars would take about three years. Therefore, laboratory mice exposed to doses of radiation equivalent to those they would receive during two and a half years of space travel completely failed their kidneys.

“Unless we develop new ways to protect the kidneys, although an astronaut may be able to get to Mars, they may need dialysis on the return trip,” said lead researcher Keith Sue, from the Department of Renal Medicine at University College London.

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It is already known that astronauts who spend long periods of time in space suffer from the formation of kidney stones, as well as other health problems such as bone loss, weakening of the heart and blurred vision.

But until now, it was believed that kidney stones develop during space missions due to bone loss caused by weightlessness: “extra” calcium from the bones passes into the urine and forms stones.

“We know what happens to the health of astronauts on relatively short space missions,” Sue noted. “What we don’t know is the exact mechanisms by which these problems arise. What will happen to astronauts on longer missions, such as the proposed mission to Mars?

Alas, new research has shown that human and animal kidneys undergo catastrophic changes in space conditions, and the structures responsible for maintaining calcium and salt balance weaken after less than a month in orbit.

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The experiments were conducted with samples obtained from more than forty orbital space missions from humans and laboratory mice. In addition, scientists conducted 11 experiments on mice and rats in the laboratory. Some of the simulations involved exposing mice to doses of galactic radiation equivalent to 1,5-year and 2,5-year missions to Mars.

“You can't protect your kidneys from galactic radiation with shields. But as we learn more about kidney biology, we may be able to develop technological or pharmaceutical treatments to support the kidneys to make long-duration spaceflight possible. - said senior researcher Stephen Walsh from the Department of Renal Medicine at University College London. “Any medicines developed for astronauts can also be useful on Earth. For example, they will help in the treatment of cancer patients, since during radiation therapy the kidneys suffer the most, and sometimes it is necessary to refuse radiation therapy for fear of the patient’s kidneys failing.”

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