UCLA researchers have released a study suggesting it would be possible to send humans to Mars.
The article published in Space Weather Journal from an international team of space scientists, including those from UCLA, stated that particle radiation from the sun does not pose too great a threat on human life depending on the timing of a mission to Mars. Humans should be able to travel safely if the spacecraft has sufficient shielding and the round trip is shorter than four years. The best time to depart Earth would be when solar activity is at its maximum because the most dangerous particles from distant galaxies would be deflected by the solar activity.
According to UCLA researcher Yuri Shprits, it is possible to make the journey in under two years.
“This study shows that while space radiation imposes strict limitations on how heavy the spacecraft can be and the time of launch, and it presents technological difficulties for human missions to Mars, such a mission is viable,” said Shprits in a statement.
Solar energetic particles and galactic cosmic rays pose the greatest threats to this type of mission, and the intensity of each depends on solar activity. Galactic cosmic ray activity is lowest within six to 12 months after the peak of solar activity, while solar energetic particles’ intensity is greatest during solar maximum, according to Shrpits.