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Radiation poses risk to Mars astronauts

Posted on Friday, 31 May, 2013 | Comment icon 10 comments | News tip by: Waspie Dwarf

Image credit: Mars Institute

New data from the Curiosity rover has revealed the threat posed by radiation to future astronauts.

Once outside of the Earth's magnetic field, future travelers on their way to Mars will be subjected to the full brunt of the deadly radiation that permeates deep space. Originating from both our own sun and from outside the solar system, exposure to it for any length of time can significantly increase the risk of cancer. To combat this, future space missions to Mars and beyond will need to employ new mechanisms for shielding astronauts from the deadly rays.

To determine just how much radiation astronauts on Mars would be subjected to, NASA has been using the Mars Curiosity rover to measure its own exposure. What they found was that the radiation was several hundred times more intense than on the Earth. While short-term exposure may have only a limited impact on life expectancy, if plans to send people to live on Mars for extended periods are to ever come to fruition it is clear that an effective solution to the radiation problem will most certainly be needed.

"Astronauts traveling to Mars, bombarded by the radiation of outer space, would face modestly higher risks of cancer, new NASA measurements confirm."

  View: Full article |  Source: New York Times

  Discuss: View comments (10)


Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #1 Posted by seeder on 31 May, 2013, 8:35
And another source casts some doubt on manned missions, (Ive always thought this about the forthcoming Mars One trip where some volunteers will go on a one way journey for life) Rover radiation data poses manned Mars mission dilemma. Nasa's Curiosity rover has confirmed what everyone has long suspected - that astronauts on a Mars mission would get a big dose of damaging radiation. The robot counted the number of high-energy space particles striking it on its eight-month journey to the planet. Based on this data, scientists say a human travelling to and from Mars could well be exposed to a ... [More]
Comment icon #2 Posted by Esoteric Toad on 31 May, 2013, 15:58
And the CAPTAIN OBVIOUS title goes to the headline of this story.
Comment icon #3 Posted by Tesla II on 31 May, 2013, 17:24
Some foods pose risks, as banks, politicans, diseases, viruses, man itself, yet we are here... so dont let little radiation pose any risk at all... Those guys from ISS have all came back alive and kickin'...
Comment icon #4 Posted by pallidin on 31 May, 2013, 19:52
Having read the article, I would tend to agree that the threat posed by what amounts to be truly not all that great, is significantly less than the potential threat posed by the mission itself(i.e spacecraft failure) Regarding the ISS, I thought that its alltitude(some 230 miles or so) is well within the protective magnetic field of the earth. Don't get me wrong, I'm sure there is a slight increase, as even being in a jet exposes one to a slight increase in radiation, though less than interplanetary space.
Comment icon #5 Posted by Waspie_Dwarf on 31 May, 2013, 21:08
Really! You do realise that we are al bathed in various types of radiation every day but it generally poses NO threat to us. The type, level and length of exposure all make a difference. So, there is NOTHING obvious about the title if you actually have even a small understanding of the radiation threat.
Comment icon #6 Posted by Waspie_Dwarf on 31 May, 2013, 21:15
Which is relevant how? I think that your understanding of the concept of risk is about the same as your understanding of radiation... none at all. It is not a matter of "letting" a "little" radiation pose a threat, we have no choice in the matter. The radiation IS at a level which poses a threat and we can't change that. Ignoring it won't make it go away. Yes but they don't venture into deep space, they remain with in the protection of the Van Allen radiation belts. A trip to Mars will involve astronauts spending months outside of this protection. Your arg... [More]
Comment icon #7 Posted by ali smack on 1 June, 2013, 11:17
I am not sure why anyone would even want to go to Mars. Due to the risks.
Comment icon #8 Posted by Waspie_Dwarf on 1 June, 2013, 11:27
Why would people want to go to the moon, or the bottom of the ocean, or the top of Everest? It is because they ARE risks. Challenges to be met and conquered. It is part of human nature. It is the reason we are not confined to the plains of Africa, why we no longer live in caves. It is why we can fly in aircraft or drive in cars.
Comment icon #9 Posted by GirlfromOz on 1 June, 2013, 12:03
Let's all fly to Mars & have a fun time!Of coarse we are going to lose contact with Earth & NASA! Oh,but don't let that worry you! Of coarse Earth & the Mars mission will lose contact. When the **** hits the fan,of coarse earth will lose contact with you!And,of coarse,the Mars mission riders will die on a lonely lifeless planet.Let's just be positive here!The best outcome is that you are going to die on your way to Mars or you are going to die,without help from NASA,when you get there!

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