June 1, 2013
Astronauts who travel to Mars one day could be exposed to dangerous levels of radiation during their trip, even if shielding techniques are used, a new study shows.
When the Mars Science Laboratory launched on Nov. 26, 2011, it began a 350-million-mile trip to the surface of the Red Planet. During its voyage, a group of researchers, including Southwest Research Institute scientist Cary Zeitlin, monitored exactly how much radiation a piece of science hardware on the Mars rover Curiosity was exposed to over the 253-day journey from Earth to Mars.
“In space, it’s between a 100 and 1,000 times higher dose rate [of radiation] than on Earth,” Zeitlin told SPACE.com. “It’s highly uncertain what the health risk is from these exposures.”