On Scientific American, Charles Wohlforth and Amanda R. Hendrix argue that instead of focusing on Mars or even the Moon, we should set our goals in colonising Titan. While the icy moon of Saturn isn't exactly as welcoming as Mars, it does offer one crucial thing that no other planet in our solar system except Earth can offer: protection from Galactic Cosmic Rays, energetic particles from distant supernovae, capable of destroying brain tissue. Of course, first we need some efficient way to get there.
[...] although the Moon and Mars look like comparatively reasonable destinations, they also have a deal-breaking problem. Neither is protected by a magnetosphere or atmosphere. Galactic Cosmic Rays, the energetic particles from distant supernovae, bombard the surfaces of the Moon and Mars, and people can’t live long-term under the assault of GCRs.
The cancer-causing potential of this powerful radiation has long been known, although it remains poorly quantified. But research in the least two years has added a potentially more serious hazard: brain damage. GCRs include particles such as iron nuclei traveling at close to the speed of light that destroy brain tissue.
Exposing mice to this radiation at levels similar to those found in space caused brain damage and loss of cognitive abilities, according to a study published last year by Vipan K. Parihar and colleagues in Science Advances. That research suggests we aren’t ready to send astronauts to Mars for a visit, much less to live there.
|A Brief Explanation of What the Universe Is|
|The Solar System, to Scale, in the Nevada Desert|
|"The effects of an impact, even a comet or asteroid of a modest size, would be devastating."|
|Extinct Alien Civilisations|
|“We estimate the dynamical lifetime of the Tesla to be a few tens of millions of years.”|
|“Cheap fakes' are the new fake news.” #DeepFakes|
|“They created a dictatorship without mercy.”|
|The (Very Scary) People of Public Transit|
|How to Avoid Jury Duty|
|“It knows the very contours of my face.”|
|CaptchaTweet: Write Tweets in Captcha Form|
|Fake Name Generator|
|If Sir David Attenborough Restored Vintage Toys|
|Recycled Vacuum Lamps|
|Pat the Zombie: A Cruel Adult Spoof of 'Pat the Bunny'|
|Darth Vader Surfing|
|“When Life Gives You Lemons.”|