The study was conducted by scientists at the University of California Irvine. They observedthe effects of charged particle irradiation, which travelers to Mars would encounter, on rodents. The results of the study, which was conducted at the National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationSpace Radiation Laboratory at New York's Brookhaven National Laboratory, were published on Monday inScientific Reports.
The brain damage, which the scientists are calling "space brain", could be suffered as soon as arrival on the planet Mars. It is estimated that travel to Mars could take up to nine months, during which travelers would be subjected to extremely intense particle radiation that would likely cause long term problems. According to the study, after six months of exposure, the rodents had experienced brain damage.
"Exposure to these particles can lead to a range of potential central nervous system complications that can occur during and persist long after actual space travel such as various performance decrements, memory deficits, anxiety, depression and impaired decision-making," read a statement from Charles Limoli, a UCI professor of radiation oncology Charles Limoli. "Many of these adverse consequences to cognition may continue and progress throughout life."
Last month, Elon Musk, the ounder o SpacX, released a plan to build a city on Maars, whichscientists say has an atmosphere that is not conducive to human life. Many praised Musk for his frontiersmanship, but others questioned his knowledge of the downfalls of space travel.