Nearly 21 people have died since the first man climbed into a rocket and launched into space 60 years ago, and as space agencies prepare for their first human mission to Mars, the death toll is likely to rise.
Astronauts heading to the red planet will spend at least seven months inside a capsule on a path humans have never taken, and if they survive the flight to the red planet, they will endure the harsh environment of Mars’ climate.
And when a crew member dies, it may take months or years before the body is returned to Earth, which raises one question: What happens to the body of a person who dies in space?
Experts have suggested a number of ways to dispose of the body, including “throwing the corpse” into the dark abyss or burying a person on Mars – but burning the remains should happen first so as not to contaminate the surface.
However, the worst-case scenario was presented with the heroes of space running out of food, and the only edible thing was the corpse of their deceased colleague.
As SpaceX CEO Elon Musk said, “If you want to go to Mars, be prepared for death.”
NASA has not established protocols to deal with death in space, but researchers around the world have put this act in place to respectfully dispose of an astronaut who has died, as reported. Popular Science.
If a crew member dies while making a trip of more than 170 million miles to Mars, the object can be placed in a cold storage or freeze-dried until the spacecraft comes into contact with Earth.
Freeze drying in space is very different from what happens on Earth – the object will be placed outside the capsule and the space will cover it with ice.
But if keeping cool is not an option, the surviving crew can send their comrade’s body into space.
“Currently, there are no specific guidelines in planetary protection policy, whether at the NASA or international level, that would address the issue of ‘burying’ a deceased astronaut by throwing it into space,” said Catherine Conley of NASA’s Office of Planet Protection. .
Launching the object into space appears to be the easiest option, as it becomes trapped in the spacecraft’s path and remains exactly where it was left.
If many missions choose this method, future Mars missiles will fly across a sea of corpses.
And when astronauts reach Mars, they will face new challenges that threaten survival, one of which is radiation.
And previous data indicate that the red planet was exposed to 700 times the radiation that the Earth was exposed to.
Radiation can alter the cardiovascular system, damage the heart, harden the arteries, or destroy some cells in the linings of blood vessels, leading to cardiovascular disease and possibly death.
In this case, a burial on Mars would be necessary, but NASA has strict laws about contaminating other planets with Earth’s microbes.
“In terms of disposing of organic matter (including corpses) on Mars, we are not imposing any restrictions as long as all of Earth’s microbes are killed – so cremation will be necessary,” NASA’s Conley told Popular Science.
However, not every dead astronaut will likely be buried, but eaten so that the others can survive.
It may sound barbaric, but experts are looking forward to what happened when a plane crashed in the Andes in 1972.
The passengers had no food and no means of communication, so they made the difficult decision to eat the bodies of those who died when the plane crashed in order to survive.
“There are two types of approaches,” said bioethicist Paul Wolpe. One says that although we owe the body an enormous amount of respect, life is fundamental, and if the only way one can survive is by eating the body, then it is grudgingly acceptable. It is not desirable. ”
Source: Daily Mail