Mars Explorers Face Huge Radiation Problem
2013 05 30

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

James Foley Beheading: What They’re Not Telling You
2014 08 27
The latest poster child for military expansion in the middle east poses a host of disturbing questions. --- Experts: James Foley Beheading Video Likely Fake By Paul Joseph Watson| Infowars Forensic analysis confirms Infowars investigation that footage was staged as war propaganda Confirming Infowars’ analysis on Thursday, British forensic experts have concluded that the ISIS beheading video involving James Foley was in all likelihood ...
US forces move into Syria as Barack Obama paves way for airstrikes on ISIS
2014 08 27
US forces move into Syria: Obama paves way for airstrikes on ISIS after sending in spy planes - despite Assad warning that any attack will be seen as ’aggression’ Barack Obama has paved the way for airstrikes against ISIS targets in Syria after spy planes started operating in the country on his command, according to U.S officials. While the White ...
Stop creating a climate of fear!
2014 08 27
ok. listen up political correct people! if you’re someone who reflexively calls others “racists” or “neofascists” without first checking into whether or not they actually are, you need to STOP it, because you’re creating a climate of fear in which people are afraid to do their jobs. and now i’m not talking about some academics sitting comfortably in their ivy towers, ...
Gov. Jerry Brown to Mexican Illegals: ’You’re All Welcome in California’
2014 08 27
On Monday evening, California Governor Jerry Brown said all Mexicans, including illegal immigrants, are welcome in California. According to the Los Angeles Times, while introducing Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto, who said America is "the other Mexico," Brown "spoke about the interwoven histories of Mexico and California." He "nodded to the immigrants in the room, saying it didn’t matter if ...
Election Posters in New Sweden
2014 08 27
Swedish prime minister Fredrik Reinfeldt has promised continued mass immigration at the expense of welfare reform and tax cuts. Reinfeldt’s Moderates party consequently does everything in their power to recruit immigrants’ votes. Placards for the forthcoming elections, widely distributed in immigrant-dominated enclaves in Sweden, has Arabic text, the language that now increasingly is dominating major parts of "New Sweden." In the ...
More News »