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Radiation exposure on Mars missions could exceed safe limits
Posted: Fri, May 31, 2013, 2:14 PM ET (1814 GMT)
MSL in flight (NASA/JPL illustration) Exposure to cosmic radiation on missions to Mars could exceed NASA's current limits for astronauts, scientists reported this week. Researchers used data collected by an instrument on the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) during its voyage from Earth to Mars last year to examiner the radiation environment astronauts would be exposed to on missions to the Red Planet. The data indicated the radiation was dominated by galactic cosmic rays, highly energetic particles that cannot be easily blocked by shielding. The MSL data indicated that the radiation exposure on a crewed Mars mission would likely exceed NASA's current exposure limits, which limit exposures to levels that would increase the risk of cancer by three percent. Decreasing the travel time is considered the best way to deal with the radiation exposure concern, a solution that would require advanced propulsion technology.
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