5 Unsolved Problems of Space Exploration

5 Unsolved Problems of Space Exploration

Space exploration is one of the hottest topics in the scientific world (for quite some time now) and claims like those of Elon Musk, CEO of SpaceX, have certainly increased the interest of people in space travel. He aims to send a manned mission to Mars in 2030s which would be an extraordinary feat to achieve, to say the least. Despite all these claims and efforts, space exploration does have some long-term, unsolved problems that stand in our way. Some of these problems are discussed below.


Money - Space Exploration

Funding extravagant missions of space exploration have always been a difficult task, even for space agencies like NASA. William Gerstenmaier, Chief of Human Spaceflight at NASA, referred to this situation and revealed that the space agency is not receiving enough money to manage a manned mission to Mars in 2030s. Although there are several estimates about the cost of traveling to Mars, none of them seems affordable as for now. The recent policies of the government are also on the same lines and President Trump has recently shown his dissatisfaction with the space agency. In this situation, all the space lovers can just hope to go out there any time soon.


Loneliness - Space Exploration

Being a social animal, humans require regular interaction with each other to stay healthy. In the case of manned missions to space, this could lead to some serious problems (depression, mood swings, and even hostile behavior). In order to determine the impact of loneliness on the human mind, researchers isolated a small group of people in a deserted island (a few years ago) for about 8 months. They noticed that most of those people became so depressed that they hardly talked to each other for 18 months. This research makes loneliness a massive hurdle in the way of manned missions.


Food - Space Exploration

Mars One, a private Dutch organization, claimed that they will be the first to land humans on the red planet and will create a small human colony of about 25-40 people. A group of Ph.D. students at MIT had a look at their plans and published a study to reveal that the human colony on Mars will die of starvation.

Basically, the plan was to grow crops inside the habitat of the colonists but researchers showed that this idea will have a self-destructive effect. They simulated the habitat and found that growing of crops, which are sufficient for this many people, will produce excessive amounts of Oxygen that can detrimental to the colonists. On the other hand, reducing the number of crops will kill the astronauts of starvation. This two-way sword raises massive questions for all the authorities who want to execute manned space exploration programs in the near future.

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The development of a human-friendly spacecraft that could take us to neighboring celestial bodies (Mars being the primary candidate for now) is surely the most important factor for manned missions. The race to take humans on Mars is on and all the candidates are trying their best to come up with a feasible solution in the quickest time. One of the difficulties that the authorities have at their hands is to find a fuel that is safe for humans and can make the journey. For this reason, different alternatives (liquid Methane and liquid Hydrogen) are being considered to come up with a suitable solution. Despite all the efforts, a lot of researchers believe that the first manned mission to Mars could be disastrous.

Medical Implications

Medical Implications

The chances of injuries increase many times when we talk about long-term manned missions to space. The environment of space is unfriendly for humans due to which even minor infections and wounds could prove fatal for astronauts. In the absence of gravity, simple medical procedures like extracting a tooth and administering injections can create a lot of problems. In case of a bigger injury where surgery is required, things can turn even worse. The blood from the surgical incision can not only obstruct the doctor but it can also contaminate the cabin which can be catastrophic. Similarly, the effect of anesthetics reduces considerably in space which makes the procedure extremely painful for the astronaut. All these medical implications make space exploration quite a difficult task to complete.       

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