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Space & Astronomy

Mars trip radiation exposure levels revealed

By T.K. Randall
September 20, 2018 · Comment icon 10 comments



Radiation is still a major concern for astronauts. Image Credit: NASA/Pat Rawlings
Scientists have calculated the minimum level of radiation that an astronaut will be exposed to on a trip to Mars.
There is certainly no denying that journeying to other worlds is a seriously risky business.

While the astronauts on the space station are afforded some protection from the Sun's radiation thanks to the Earth's protective magnetic field, the first humans to venture to Mars will have disturbingly few options available when it comes to avoiding a potentially lethal dose.

Some studies have even suggested that journeying to Mars at all may be a death sentence with astronauts receiving several times the survivable dose of radiation over the course of the trip.
Now though, thanks to new data from ESA's ExoMars orbiter, it has been revealed that radiation exposure levels during a round trip to Mars may not be quite as bad as previously thought.

In total, scientists claim, astronauts can expect to receive as little as 60 percent of their maximum recommended career radiation exposure during a trip to Mars that takes 6 months both ways.

While this is still a lot, it is at least survivable, meaning that such a trip may be genuinely achievable.

Source: Engadget | Comments (10)


Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #1 Posted by Seti42 5 years ago
We should probably develop radiation shielding that works before we send anything other than robots well outside the protective envelope of earth's magnetosphere.
Comment icon #2 Posted by L.A.T.1961 5 years ago
I don't think shielding is a difficult technical challenge, water can be used but it would add weight to any spacecraft and so it's back to the old problem of launching heavy payloads along with pushing and fuelling a heavy ship. †
Comment icon #3 Posted by Timothy 5 years ago
It ainít so bad. There are many people willing to take the risk†for humanity/the sheer experience of it/whatever floats your boat etc. Iíd do it. Would probably have some sperm frozen first though.
Comment icon #4 Posted by Seti42 5 years ago
I'm sure at some point in the future, we'll either develop light-weight and effective radiation shielding, or vastly more efficient propulsion systems where all the extra weight won't matter. We just haven't yet.
Comment icon #5 Posted by OverSword 5 years ago
60% of alleged survivable dose (I say alleged because it's going to vary from person to person) No thank you.
Comment icon #6 Posted by ExpandMyMind 5 years ago
60% of the recommended dosage for an astronaut for his whole career, I believe. So just less total trips in space for whoever goes. Not an especially worrying amount for general health.
Comment icon #7 Posted by OverSword 5 years ago
Unless there is a solar flare perhaps?
Comment icon #8 Posted by ExpandMyMind 5 years ago
I guess. But then they'd have super powers so I don't think they'd care.
Comment icon #9 Posted by OverSword 5 years ago
True. And when they got back they could run for president bringing us to a new low
Comment icon #10 Posted by L.A.T.1961 5 years ago
It looks like they have only calculated dosage rates for the flight, not the stop on Mars. So the total exposure could be 100% + of a total recommended limit. Not sure how that would compare to the risk to life just flying the mission, multiple take off and landings Ect. There are lots of ways to be injured or worse attempting something like this.†


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