Ever since NASA took the first close-up images of Mars back in 1965, our fascination with possibly colonizing the planet has only increased over the years. From movies depicting possible manned mission scenarios, to real contests promising a new life on Mars, it's clear that mankind won't stop until it sets foot on the planet. However, new information reveals that the planet's environment may ultimately be inhospitable even for humans enclosed in biospheres.
According to data presented by researchers at the Humans 2 Mars Summit this week in Washington, D.C. regarding a possible manned mission to Mars in 2030, fine-grained silicate minerals on the planet could prove to be a long-term health hazard for humans. In fact, even using high-tech air locks, the planet's perchlorates-infested dust could still eventually cause damage to the thyroid gland.
Another problem is the discovery of gypsum on the planet's surface. According to Grant Anderson, co-founder of Paragon Space Development, "Gypsum is not really toxic per se, but if you breathe it in you do start to see a build-up in the lungs that's equivalent to the coal-dust lung experienced by miners. That leads to breakdowns in lung capacity."
Despite these challenges, a large number of scientists remain committed to the goal of one day placing humans on Mars. The conference ended yesterday, but you can watch archived videos of the discussions that took place here.
Via New Scientist