Since Yuri Gagarin got into a rocket and flew into space 60 years ago, approximately 21 lives have been lost in the cosmos, but as space agencies prepare for the first human mission to Mars, many believe the death toll will increase significantly.
Astronauts traveling to Mars will spend at least seven months in a capsule on a route never before completed by humans, and if they survive the trip to Mars, they will face the harsh climate of the Red Plane, among other serious issues leading to death, like starvation and suffocation.
When a crew member dies, it may take months or even years for a body to be returned to Earth, if at all, which raises a not-so-trivial question of what happens to a person’s body when they die in space.
According to a Popular Science report, experts have proposed a range of options for burying a body on Mars, including “jettisoning” it into the dark abyss or burying it in the Red Planet’s soil, but the remains would need to be burned first to avoid contaminating the surface.
However, in the worst-case scenario, the space explorers could run out of food and the only thing edible is the corpse of a fallen crew member. Experts are studying what occurred in 1972 when a plane with an Uruguayan rugby team crashed into the Andes mountains, which sounds horrific. The surviving passengers had no food and no means of communicating with the outer world while stuck on a mountain, so they made the difficult decision to eat those who had died when the plane went down in order to survive.