If you were traveling to Mars solely by spacecraft, your health might take a serious hit during the 18-month or so round-trip journey–and you might not even be able to see your home by the time you got back. Throughout the journey, high-energy particles known as cosmic rays would course through your body, not only damaging your eyesight, but also increasing your risk of cancer by up to 20 percent.
Luckily, one scientist has an answer: Don’t fly a spaceship to Mars, hop on an asteroid instead.
Cosmic rays zing into our solar system from interstellar space; here on Earth our planet’s magnetic field protects us from them, and astronauts aboard the International Space Station are mostly protected by the Earth’s bulk and its magnetic field as well. But astronauts on a long-haul trip to Mars would be in more danger.
Those people living in areas with higher numbers of mobile phone towers have more children, new research is showing (spreadsheet). Matt Parker at The Guardian’s Notes & Theories blog did the analysis of publicly available data and found the correlation:
Could it be possible that mobile phone radiation somehow aids fertilisation, or maybe there’s just something romantic about a mobile phone transmitter mast [aka tower] protruding from the landscape?
The data show that there is a very strong correlation between the number of cell phone towers and the birth rate in communities. For every additional phone tower, there are 17.6 more babies than the national average, Parker writes in his blog post:
When a regression line is calculated it has a “correlation coefficient” (a measure of how good the match is) of 98.1 out of 100. To be “statistically significant” a pattern in a dataset needs to be less than 5% likely to be found in random data (known as a “p-value”), and the masts-births correlation only has a 0.00003% probability of occurring by chance.
With all that fancy math talk, this sounds pretty conclusive, huh? But read on.
If requiring stores to label their cell phones with radiation-output levels wasn’t enough, San Francisco has found a new way to revel in cell phone hysteria: Now one of its trendy maternity boutiques sells radiation-shielding maternity clothes.
These clothes are specifically designed to shield their little unborn hipster babies from computer and cell phone radiation. Radiation-shielding maternity clothing has been popular in China for years, but a young company is now marketing its line of Belly Armor directly to San Francisco’s expectant mothers.
The clothing, which start at $59 for a T-shirt, is made by a company called RadiaShield, whose website encourages expectant mothers to “protect their child within” from the radiation of daily lives. Fact check: most of the radiation that a cell phone emits is actually a low-frequency, non-harmful type of radiation called non-ionizing radiation. It doesn’t contain enough energy to remove electrons from an atom, unlike higher-energy, higher-frequency, known-to-be harmful radiations like x-rays and UV light.