Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Exploring The Final Frontier: Disease Proposed As Major Barrier To Mars And Beyond

Date:
October 30, 2009
Source:
Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology
Summary:
Scientists argue that human missions to Mars, as well as all other long-term space flights might be compromised by microbial hitchhikers, such as bacteria. That's because long-term space travel packs a one-two punch to astronauts: first it appears to weaken their immune systems; and second, it increases the virulence and growth of microbes.

A new report appearing in The Journal of Leukocyte Biology argues that human missions to Mars, as well as all other long-term space flights might be compromised by microbial hitchhikers, such as bacteria. That's because long-term space travel packs a one-two punch to astronauts: first it appears to weaken their immune systems; and second, it increases the virulence and growth of microbes.

This combination of factors makes it vital for scientists to find tools that can help people cope with these microscopic hitchhikers before they lead to disease, especially since astronauts will not have the ability to return home to a hospital.

"When people think of space travel, often the vast distances are what come to mind first," said Jean-Pol Frippiat, one of the report's co-authors from Nancy-University in France, "but even after we figure out a way to cover these distances in a reasonable amount of time, we still need to figure out how astronauts are going to overcome disease and sickness."

Frippiat and colleagues based their conclusions on studies showing that immune systems of both people and animals in space flight conditions are significantly weaker than their grounded counterparts. They also reviewed studies that examined the effects of space flight conditions and altered gravity on virulence and growth of common pathogens such as Salmonella, E. coli and Staphylococcus. These studies show that these bacteria reproduce more rapidly in space flight conditions, leading to increased risk of contamination, colonization and serious infection.

"As clearly outlined by the researchers, we are unlikely to remain healthy when leaving earth for prolonged periods," said Luis Montaner, Editor-in-Chief of The Journal of Leukocyte Biology. "Unfortunately, because spacecraft technology is way ahead of our understanding of how to maintain human health, disease-free survival after reaching Mars or establishing a colony on the Moon may be problematic."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Gueguinou et al. Could spaceflight-associated immune system weakening preclude the expansion of human presence beyond Earth's orbit? Journal of Leukocyte Biology, 2009; 86 (5): 1027 DOI: 10.1189/jlb.0309167

Cite This Page:

Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology. "Exploring The Final Frontier: Disease Proposed As Major Barrier To Mars And Beyond." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 30 October 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/10/091029141251.htm>.
Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology. (2009, October 30). Exploring The Final Frontier: Disease Proposed As Major Barrier To Mars And Beyond. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/10/091029141251.htm
Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology. "Exploring The Final Frontier: Disease Proposed As Major Barrier To Mars And Beyond." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/10/091029141251.htm (accessed April 20, 2014).

Share This



More Space & Time News

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

A Hoax? Cosmetics Company Wants To Brighten The Moon

A Hoax? Cosmetics Company Wants To Brighten The Moon

Newsy (Apr. 19, 2014) FOREO, a Swedish cosmetics company, says it wants to brighten the moon to lower electricity costs. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Space X Launches to Space Station

Raw: Space X Launches to Space Station

AP (Apr. 18, 2014) On it's second attempt this week, The Space X company launched Friday from Cape Canaveral to ferry supplies to the International Space Station. (April 18) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Unmanned Falcon 9 Rocket Blasts Off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida

Unmanned Falcon 9 Rocket Blasts Off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida

Reuters - US Online Video (Apr. 18, 2014) The rocket, built and operated by Space Exploration Technologies, carries a Dragon cargo ship loaded with supplies and equipment destined for the International Space Station. Rough Cut (no reporter narration). Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Earth's Near-Twin Found Orbiting Red Dwarf

Earth's Near-Twin Found Orbiting Red Dwarf

Newsy (Apr. 17, 2014) The newly-discovered planet is roughly the size of Earth and could have liquid water on its surface. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins