Can the human body handle a trip to Mars? 4 things to know from 2 Chicago pathologists

After President Barack Obama, Tesla founder Elon Musk and Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg all revealed various endeavors to help humans reach Mars, it is clear there is no shortage of interest in the journey. But is the human body physically capable of handling such a trip?

In an article for the Chicago Tribune, Dariusz Borys, MD, a bone pathologist at Maywood, Ill.-based LoyolaUniversityMedicalCenter, and John Biemer, MD, a pathology resident at LUMC, said there is significant evidence that the human physiology is "dramatically affected when there is little or no gravity."

Here are four things to know about how the human body would fair on trip to Mars, Dr. Borys and Dr. Biemer told Chicago Tribune.

1. After an extended period of time in space, human bones undergo a process similar to osteoporosis, losing about 1 percent of their mass every month without gravity.

2. If crew members land on Mars after months of living without gravity, their bones may not be able to support their own body weight, causing their vertebrae, hip bones and wrists to fracture and disc herniations that may lead to back pain and hinder astronauts' ability to explore the planet.

3. While astronauts may engage in strenuous exercise regimens to curb the effects of osteoporosis-like symptoms, they may still experience significant decreases in muscle strength and bone density following flights averaging 180 days long, according to the article.

4. Extended periods in zero gravity atmospheres may also cause other complications as well, including alterations to the circulatory and immune systems, as well as radiation levels that may cause cancer.

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