It is estimated that a trip from Earth to Mars will take 5 months. We know that astronauts on the International Space Station do 2 hours of physical exericise a day to maintain muscle and bone mass during their stays on the ISS. It is worth considering that astronauts on a 10-month trip to Mars and back may require regular physical exercise while they live and work in a similar zero-gravity environment.
A Study has shown that a 10-month mission without any exercise by the astronauts would result in Astronauts unable to do basic tasks:
TRIP TO MARS WOULD TURN ASTRONAUTS INTO WEAKLINGS | NBC NEWS
“Astronauts on a mission to Mars could lose nearly half their muscle strength during the long trip, giving them the physiques of senior citizens by the time they arrived, according to a new study.” writes Mike Wall.
NASA has years of research and data on what is needed to mitigate bone and muscle loss for crew onboard the ISS. The same technology will must likely be needed for any manned missions to Mars, as research suggests significant bone and muscle loss during a 10-month trip.
NASA has already determined what is needed to mitigate bone loss during long-term stays for astronauts onboard the ISS:
PREVENTING BONE LOSS IN SPACE | NASA
Not only is regular exercise needed, but a certain diet also supports healthy bone and muscle. According to the above research, the keys to promoting health in the elderly are the same for astronauts: “The three key elements for promoting the health of elderly people…. are nutrition, exercise and medicine.”
At this time, no Spacecraft in production for missions to Mars are designed with any exercise equipment onboard. As the research suggests, can a manned mission to Mars be successful without the necessary exercise equipment for the crew?
NASA ORION SPACECRAFT
SpaceX RED DRAGON (A Modified SpaceX Crew Dragon)
EXERCISE EQUIPMENT ONBOARD THE INTERNATIONAL SPACE STATION