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."
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Source: New York Times
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