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article imageStudy: Mission to Mars would result in muscle loss for astronauts

By Andrew Moran     Aug 19, 2010 in Science
Milwaukee - A new study recently released suggests that a 10-month mission to Mars would result in astronauts losing half of their muscle strength and upon arrival to the red planet, the astronauts could have the strength of an 80-year-old.
According to a new study led by Robert Fitts of the Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, if astronauts were to embark on a 10-month journey to Mars then they would have to be prepared to have the strength of an 80-year-old senior citizen when they arrive on the surface of the red planet.
Space reports that researchers have concluded that a mission to Mars would cause an average 30- to 50-year-old astronaut to lose nearly half of his or her muscle strength even with regular exercise on board the potential spacecraft.
The trip to Mars would result in such muscle loss that astronauts would be incapable of performing the simplest of tasks. Therefore, it would be impossible for an astronaut to manoeuvre in a space suit on Mars.
Research also found that upon returning to planet Earth, astronauts could face extreme difficulty to evacuate their spacecraft in case of an emergency landing due to loss of force.
“No one's tested it. I think it needs to be tested,” said Fitts in a telephone interview with CNET News. “They could start by doing some very well controlled bed-rest studies, which has been the model for a long time...And then, also start testing the actual crew using it on the station. I know they're using it, but it's like a lot of things, nobody's getting any data that says it's working."
The research study can be found in the Aug. 17 edition of the Journal of Physiology.
More about Mars, Robert fitts marquette university, Astronauts
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