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Space & Astronomy

Radiation prevents manned Mars mission

By T.K. Randall
September 19, 2009 · Comment icon 19 comments

Image Credit: NASA
Radiation may prove to be the single biggest hurdle in putting a human on the planet Mars. Without the protective atmosphere and magnetic field of the Earth astronauts would be exposed to lethal radiation from galactic cosmic rays.
Forget the risk of exploding rockets or getting sideswiped by a wayward bit of space junk. Radiation may be the biggest hurdle to human exploration beyond low-Earth orbit and could put a damper on a recently proposed mission to Mars orbit.


Source: New Scientist | Comments (19)




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Comment icon #10 Posted by ShadowSot 15 years ago
On topic, though, if lead suits can do enough to protect from radiation, why can't space suits and the space craft? Wasn't an issue for Apollo, I just don't see how it's an issue now. Is there more intense radiation that far out? (Ugh, in before moon landing deniers, I essentially baited them...) That I recall, the chief concern during the Apollo missions in term of radiation was the Van Allen belt, but due to how quickly they traveled through it and the shielding of the craft, it didn't present a problem. However, there is a great deal of background radiation in space. I think there is a issu... [More]
Comment icon #11 Posted by mouse888 15 years ago
radition problem for mars hmmm what the hell happened to the moon we haven't done anything on that part have we? we probably get sick of mars as well??
Comment icon #12 Posted by danielost 15 years ago
That I recall, the chief concern during the Apollo missions in term of radiation was the Van Allen belt, but due to how quickly they traveled through it and the shielding of the craft, it didn't present a problem. However, there is a great deal of background radiation in space. I think there is a issue with length of time in space for astronauts due to the background radiation, especially space walks. Short time is ok, but at the current technology, the amount of time it would take to get to Mars would cause lethal radiation poisoning. if you took a space ship built on the ground yes there wou... [More]
Comment icon #13 Posted by Ashiene 15 years ago
The conventional method of colonizing Mars is to send shuttles to the planet, each shuttle carries a component or some components which are then assembled on the planet itself to form structures or habitats. I propose a more efficient method of colonizing the Red Planet. Build a space station in orbit around Earth, something like the ISS, except much bigger and capable of self-sustaining a small population of around 20-50 people indefinitely. Then this space station begins its journey to Mars and lands on its surface, after which it will burrow into the ground to shield itself from radiation.
Comment icon #14 Posted by GreyWeather 15 years ago
radiation lvls are much worse in space. as for cosmic radiation. we get hit by it all the time. the ozone and belts do nothing to stop cosmic radiation. cosmic radiation goes straight through everything. no the radiation we need to worry about is gamma. and a layer of dirt will stop that. Well. No. It won't. A metre thick block of lead can stop gamma rays. And lead is a heavy material, so it's going to drain a lot of energy resources, (with a rocket surrounded in lead) to just get off the planet. More energy resources a larger container more lead to cover this / or more weight due to the ext... [More]
Comment icon #15 Posted by danielost 15 years ago
Well. No. It won't. A metre thick block of lead can stop gamma rays. And lead is a heavy material, so it's going to drain a lot of energy resources, (with a rocket surrounded in lead) to just get off the planet. More energy resources a larger container more lead to cover this / or more weight due to the extra amount of carge space needed more energy resources. http://science.nasa.gov/newhome/headlines/msad20jul98_1.htm
Comment icon #16 Posted by DieChecker 15 years ago
radiation lvls are much worse in space. as for cosmic radiation. we get hit by it all the time. the ozone and belts do nothing to stop cosmic radiation. cosmic radiation goes straight through everything. no the radiation we need to worry about is gamma. and a layer of dirt will stop that. Cosmic rays are simply atomic nuclei that are sped up to fractions of lightspeed by such things are super novas. They are not energy rays. Most cosmic rays that hit the Earth collide with the atmosphere and form other radiation that quickly is dispersed. Maybe you are thinking of neutrenos when you say they g... [More]
Comment icon #17 Posted by danielost 15 years ago
the space station is armoured against radiation. as i stated we can build an armoured ship in space just as easily as the station was built and faster if we don't wait for 30 countries to build their part of it.
Comment icon #18 Posted by ShadowSot 15 years ago
Van Allen himself said that the radiation belt posed no threat to the Apollo astronauts. I can say that for sure. "The recent Fox TV show, which I saw, is an ingenious and entertaining assemblage of nonsense. The claim that radiation exposure during the Apollo missions would have been fatal to the astronauts is only one example of such nonsense." -- Dr. James Van Allen Cool, knew he'd stated as much, wasn't aware of the exact quote though.
Comment icon #19 Posted by Universal Sight 15 years ago
Seriously...what would the purpose really be to go to mars? other than sentencing a group of people to death for a place we cant realistically colonize and live a normal life without major consequences/cost/resources...whats the use? Mining? study some dirt? Leave the overpopulated Earth to expand to a place that has all kinds of room on it? Will this "room" really let mankind live on until the end of time? Even if they were to do this. Would YOU really want to go there and live? I know i wouldnt. But i would definetely be proud of the people who would really be that brave to actually take a s... [More]


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