Mars Explorers Face Huge Radiation Problem
2013-05-30 0:00

By Irene Klotz | Discovery



A radiation sensor inside NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover shows that even under the best-case scenario and behind shielding currently being designed for NASA’s new deep-space capsule, future travelers will face a huge amount of radiation.

The results, based on Curiosity’s 253-day, 348-million-mile cruise to Mars, indicate an astronaut most likely would exceed the current U.S. lifetime radiation exposure limit during one round trip mission.

“Even for the shortest of missions we are perilously close to the radiation career and health limits that we’ve established for our astronauts,” NASA’s chief medical officer Richard Williams told a National Academy of Sciences’ medical committee on Thursday.

The Institute of Medicine panel is looking into ethics and health standards for long-duration spaceflights.

Curiosity, which landed inside a giant impact basin near the Martian equator on Aug. 5, 2012, continues to collect radiation data as it conducts its primary mission to look for habitats that could have supported ancient or possible present day microbial life.

Curiosity’s Radiation Assessment Detector, known as RAD, measures the amount and energy levels of highly energetic particles in galactic cosmic rays and from the sun. Scientists then converted the data into radiation dosage units known as sieverts, which are associated with increased cancer risk.

Current U.S. standards limit an astronaut’s lifetime radiation exposure to 1 Sievert, or 1,000 milliSieverts, which equates to about a five percent chance increase in developing a fatal cancer.

A new study shows that with currently available propulsion technologies and similar shielding to Curiosity’s, astronauts on even the shortest roundtrips to Mars would get radiation doses of about 662 millisieverts and that doesn’t include radiation dosages for any time spent on the Martian surface.

“We have a challenge,” Williams said during a webcast meeting on Thursday of the spaceflight health and medical ethics committee.

“We have the probability that in pursuing exploration-class missions beyond low-Earth orbit of long-duration that we will exceed the standards that we have already promulgated inside the agency. We need the advice of the committee on how best to go about proactively resolving some of these potential conflicts,” Williams said.

In general, Curiosity’s shielding was more effective against particles emitted during solar storms, known as coronal mass ejections, than galactic cosmic rays.

[...]

Read the full article at: news.discovery.com







Mars-Bound Astronauts Could Face Higher Risk of Cancer




Related Articles
How a Mission to Mars Could Kill You
Jupiter’s moons give better chances in finding life than Mars
Mars One says 80,000 have applied for one-way mission to red planet
Wanted: People willing to die on Mars
Mars Announcement Raises Question: What Is Life?
Invisible ’Dark Lighting’ Blasts Airline Passengers With Radiation
NASA Discovers New Radiation Belt Around Earth
NASA sends rubber chicken into radiation storm in stratosphere
Mystery of Moon’s Magnetic Field Deepens
When We Tested Nuclear Bombs (Gallery)
Nukes in Space to Deal with Dangerous Asteroids?


Latest News from our Front Page

Wotan: The Archetype of the Awakened Aryan Man
2015-08-05 2:50
Wotan/Woden/Odin represents the archetype of the questing and awakened Aryan man, in particular the questing and awakened Germanic man. Whilst it is clear from our studies of Germanic mythology that Wotan was not the original primary God of the Germanic pantheon – that honour rests with Tiw/Tyr/Ziu  – nevertheless, Wotan represents that questing and awakened part of the Aryo-Germanic soul more than any other deity. In this article I wish to focus ...
Worker fired over hospital's hardline vaccination policy
2015-08-04 20:55
Three others suspended under Waikato DHB’s new rule requiring staff to be vaccinated or wear a mask. One worker has now been sacked for defying a new hard-line policy forcing unvaccinated Waikato District Health Board staff to get flu jabs or wear masks. A number of staff at the DHB have come forward with concerns since the Weekend Herald revealed that three ...
Bulgaria keeps out migrants with a 50 mile razor wire fence along Turkish border
2015-08-04 20:27
Keep out: Police chief Ivan Stoyanov at the fenceStretching far into the horizon, this is the super-fence blocking thousands of migrants hoping for a new life in Europe. As police in Calais struggle to contain thousands trying to storm the Eurotunnel in their desperation to get into Britain, the Bulgarian authorities are shoring up their border with Turkey. The barriers around the ...
DF wants video to tell refugees to stay away
2015-08-04 20:59
 “If you want to seek happiness in Europe, Denmark is not the right place.”  That’s the message that the anti-immigration Danish People’s Party (DF) wants to send loud and clear to asylum seekers.   DF spokesman Martin Henriksen is calling on Denmark to replicate Australia by releasing a video in English and Arabic that will discourage asylum seekers from making their way ...
Dutch King Willem-Alexander declares the end of the welfare state
2015-08-04 18:26
King Willem-Alexander delivered a message to the Dutch people from the government in a nationally televised address: the welfare state of the 20th century is gone. In its place a "participation society" is emerging, in which people must take responsibility for their own future and create their own social and financial safety nets, with less help from the national government. The ...
More News »