What happens to your brain on the way to Mars.

Imported: 05 May '16 | Published: 17 Jul '15

Vipan K VK Parihar, Barrett B Allen, Katherine K KK Tran, Trisha G TG Macaraeg, Esther M EM Chu, Stephanie F SF Kwok, Nicole N NN Chmielewski, Brianna M BM Craver, Janet E JE Baulch, Munjal M MM Acharya, Francis A FA Cucinotta, Charles L CL Limoli

Science advances

Abstract: As NASA prepares for the first manned spaceflight to Mars, questions have surfaced concerning the potential for increased risks associated with exposure to the spectrum of highly energetic nuclei that comprise galactic cosmic rays. Animal models have revealed an unexpected sensitivity of mature neurons in the brain to charged particles found in space. Astronaut autonomy during long-term space travel is particularly critical as is the need to properly manage planned and unanticipated events, activities that could be compromised by accumulating particle traversals through the brain. Using mice subjected to space-relevant fluences of charged particles, we show significant cortical- and hippocampal-based performance decrements 6 weeks after acute exposure. Animals manifesting cognitive decrements... Read More

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