Cognitive impairment might hamper space travel

Space travel might really hurt our brains

The Space Trade Association

Long-term galactic cosmic ray exposure leads to dementia-like cognitive impairments
[Via EurekAlert! – Space and Planetary Science]

(University of California – Irvine) What happens to an astronaut’s brain during a mission to Mars? Nothing good. It’s besieged by destructive particles that can forever impair cognition, according to a UC Irvine radiation oncology study. Charles Limoli and colleagues found that exposure to highly energetic charged particles — much like those found in the galactic cosmic rays that bombard astronauts during extended spaceflights — cause significant damage to the central nervous system, resulting in cognitive impairments.


Once we move away from the near-Earth locale – which does a lot to protect us – we expose ourselves to much higher levels of radiation, especially very energetic cosmic rays.

This research indicates that exposure can cause inflammation of the brain, resulting in significant deterioration in cognitive function.


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