Entry: Space Travel Shown To Increase Risk Of Cancer

As we prepare to enter the age of space tourism, researchers believe it might be healthier to stay on Earth. In a new study, scientists found that mice exposed to 56Fe radiation, a high energy radiation prevalent in space, developed tumors in their intestines.

Further research revealed this was due to cosmic radiation, a phenomenon that can prevent gut cells from destroying a protein called beta-catenin. It’s not yet known to what degree a space traveler’s cancer risk is increased; researchers hope that using mice will allow them to make an accurate estimate.

Dr. Albert Fornace of Georgetown University added that researchers hope to develop drugs that astronauts can take to protect themselves from cosmic radiation’s effects. Vitamin D is already taken by astronauts for nutritional reasons, and some have suggested the vitamin helps protect against cancer.