Rayons cosmiques

Our planet’s magnetic field generates a protective bubble, called the magnetosphere, that shields the surface from damaging cosmic radiation. Humans traveling beyond this bubble will be subjected to dangerous cosmic rays and solar storms, which can damage cells and cause changes in DNA.

“The secret to potential success for interstellar travel will come from looking at animals and plants and microbes on the Earth that have dealt with this kind of radiation in their evolutionary past, and their ability to either tolerate or completely avoid effects of this radiation,” says Timothy Mousseau, professor of biological sciences at the University of South Carolina.

“I think that within human genomes, there are secrets to biological mechanisms for resisting or tolerating the effects of radiation,” Mousseau says. “The trick is to figure out what those mechanisms are, and to maybe turn them on or enhance them in some way.”

Nick Lunn, National Geographic, 30 avril 2018

Image: Les éléments de la combinaison A7L portée par Armstrong sur la Lune