Astronauts could suffer permanent kidney damage on missions to Mars.

Mars missions could damage astronaut kidneys

Mars missions could damage astronaut kidneys

A review of the health implications of space travel on 24 astronauts who ventured to the Moon has found that many suffered changes to their kidneys during their lunar expeditions.

Scientists fear that the time spent venturing to the Red Planet would result in much greater harm to the organs - with the space crews developing painful kidney stones and requiring dialysis.

Experts warn that this issue will need to be resolved as NASA and tycoon Elon Musk ramp up plans for missions to Mars.

Dr. Keith Siew, first author of the study at University College London (UCL), said: "If we don't develop new ways to protect the kidneys, I'd say that while an astronaut could make it to Mars they might need dialysis on the way back.

"We know that the kidneys are late to show signs of radiation damage; by the time this becomes apparent it's probably too late to prevent failure, which would be catastrophic for the mission's chances of success."