solar flight

Swollen heads, an increased risk of cancer, and inevitable bickering will be some of the challenges that astronauts encounter while exploring other worlds.

Recently, commercial spaceflight has seen an increase. So while regular human spaceflights beyond low Earth orbit are still not possible, they could become a trend in the coming decades.

To prepare for such an eventuality, scientists and engineers are relentlessly working to identify and mitigate new interplanetary travel challenges to human health.

Here are some problems and solutions that experts have identified to help astronauts on the way to Mars, Moon and Mars.


Our bodies fight gravity every day to pump fluids into our heads. Gravitation is taken out of the equation and you get all pump, no dump, the cranial water doesn’t fully drain. Fluid pooling in the skull and facial areas is the result. This is Spaceflight Associated Neuro-ocular Syndrome.

Puffiness in your face for the first few days of the mission is quickly resolved as the body adjusts into microgravity. The changes in cerebrospinal water that surrounds brain can take up to years or months for them to reverse after long-term orbital spaceflight.

The brain’s pressure increases, pushing it higher against the skull. As a result, the fluid-filled ventricles or cavities in the brain expand. Astronauts also experience vision changes due to the pressure.

Although scientists are still not able to understand every aspect of SANS or how they can be prevented, several options have been offered for prevention. These include creating artificial gravitation or using specialized negative pressure suits for astronauts to draw fluid from the heads.


Earth’s magnetic protection keeps us protected from cosmic radiation. However, particles of high-voltage radiation from the Sun (or elsewhere) can cause cell damage and severing outside this zone.

This leads to many problems, including radiation sickness as well as an increased chance of developing cancer in the future. The best way to mitigate radiation exposure is to shield spacecraft from radiation and monitor radiation exposure closely.

Research has also shown that Mars trip may cause greater problems than just radiation damage. Radiation damage can occur to the tissue of astronauts while on Mars. This could affect their behavior, cognition, and overall health.

Other options include building shelters with an insulation layer of water which blocks radiation. Alternativly, shield the habitats with readily accessible regolith.

But, there’s a third proposal. Nesrin Srigul-Klijn a specialist aerospace engineering believes that astronauts are best protected by radiation when spacecraft shielding is combined with biological methods like gene modification.


Our microbiome — complex cultures of bacterias and protozoa that live in us — is vital for our health. It helps to maintain many aspects of our wellbeing, including good digestion, stable mood, and healthy skin.

Study of recent astronauts who stayed aboard the ISS has shown that space shifts the balance of these little helpers. These changes to the microbiome could lead to skin rashes and hypersensitivity episodes common in astronauts.

While scientists continue to study the effects of low-Earth’s orbit changes, experts believe that different modifications to the microbiome may occur during extended travels to other worlds.

Consider, for a moment, the commensal bacteria that helps instigate the body’s immune defense response. The mutation rate of these bacteria could be increased by cosmic radiation. This could result in new and unexpected interactions between the bacteria and their human hosts.

A healthy diet, along with prebiotics or probiotics, is the best way for long-term prevention of these alterations. The possibilities for probiotics range from simple foods like yogurt, to pills, to stool transplants.


Long-haul trips to Mars, Mars and beyond will be less stressful if crew members get along. The best crew selection is an essential part of travel harmony.

Not just about picking good astronauts, but also considering the whole group as a whole when assembling a crew. Analog missions are used to simulate the life on Mars or Moon.

It doesn’t matter how cohesive or small a group, there will be frustrations if they are forced to live in a stressful environment. One creative solution might be to allow astronauts to sleep in transit in a hibernation, or “torpor” state.

There are some indications, from people who survived after “drowning,” in freezing lakes, to those who use regular medical cooling techniques, that hibernation may be possible for humans. Current research is still ongoing. Crews may find it crucial to maintain their mental faculties during very long spaceflights if this strategy is confirmed.