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News Link • Space Travel and Exploration

The Perils of Going to Mars Include Radiation

•, Marc Kaufman
 The challenge of keeping astronauts safe from hazardous radiation if and when they travel to and from Mars in the decades ahead will be daunting and unpredictable, according to the first-ever measurements of the high-energy particles that will saturate the spacecraft along the way.

Readings from the Radiation Assessment Detector (RAD) aboard the spaceship that carried the Curiosity rover to Mars reveal that astronauts would receive significant doses of very-high-energy galactic cosmic rays and solar particles.

While the readings are not unexpected given what is known about deep space, the actual measurements are sobering: An astronaut in a spaceship protected to the same level as the International Space Station (ISS) would receive enough radiation to approach or exceed what is considered to be a safe lifetime exposure.

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