New study threatens Elon Musk's Mars ambitions

On his social media platform, Elon Musk wrote Mars landing could be possible within next "10 to 20 years"

By  Web Desk   |  
June 12, 2024
Tesla CEO Elon Musk speaks at the 27th annual Milken Institute Global Conference at the Beverly Hilton in Los Angeles on May 6, 2024. — AFP

A new study may have put brakes to human ambitions to explore other planets including Mars after researchers revealed the impact on the kidneys of astronauts because of long stays in space.

The study published in the journal Nature Communications analysed over 40 missions to space that included humans and mice.


The findings highlighted that kidneys are transformed, particularly contraction in several parts of the organ due to conditions in space. The change was reported in just less than a month of stay without Earth’s gravity.

The researchers may have threatened Elon Musk’s ambitions to explore Mars as the CEO of Tesla has been enthusiastic with the help of his aerospace company SpaceX.

On his social media platform, Elon Musk wrote that Mars landing could be possible within the next "10 to 20 years".

The SpaceX Starship launches on its fourth flight test from Starbase in Boca Chica, Texas, on June 6, 2024. — AFP

The University College London scientists involved in the study said that microgravity and galactic radiation from space flight caused serious health risks to emerge the longer a person is exposed to it.

Scientists did not rule out space exploration missions, however, they said that measures to protect the kidneys would need to be developed to avoid serious harm to astronauts.

“We know what has happened to astronauts on the relatively short space missions conducted so far, in terms of an increase in health issues such as kidney stones,” said Dr Keith Siew, an author of the study.

The recovery methods could be performed on the space vehicle as dialysis machines.

The 52-year-old billionaire has been building its all-powerful rocket Starship which is targeted to eventually take humans to Mars after Nasa’s Artemis III mission later this decade.