Report: NASA needs better handle on health hazards for Mars

This image taken Friday, Oct. 23, 2015, from the International Space Station shows Hurricane Patricia. The Category 5 storm, the strongest recorded in the Western Hemisphere, barreled toward southwestern Mexico Friday. (Scott Kelly/NASA via AP)

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) — NASA needs to get cracking if it wants to keep its astronauts alive and well on missions to Mars.

That’s the conclusion of a 54-page report issued by NASA’s inspector general office Thursday.

The office conducted an audit of NASA’s effort to keep astronauts safe during lengthy space missions. The audit looked in particular at the risks posed on trips to Mars, currently targeted for the 2030s. Among the health hazards for three-year, round-trip Mars missions: space radiation, isolation, and limited food and medicine.

The report says NASA is making progress in identifying and managing health risks. But it says NASA is optimistic in thinking it can resolve all the issues by the 2030s. As a result, the first astronauts who fly to Mars may need to accept extra risk. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Users who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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