Astronauts going to Mars would receive huge, unsafe radiation doses

New research indicates that the enormous amount of solar radiation astronauts would receive on a round trip to Mars makes such a trip currently infeasible.

Published Aug 16, 2022 7:11 AM CDT   |   Updated Wed, Sep 7 2022 8:05 AM CDT
1 minute & 18 seconds read time

A paper on radiation and Mars titled "Crewed Missions to Mars: Modeling the Impact of Astrophysical Charged Particles on Astronauts and Assessing Health Effects" has been uploaded to the preprint server arXiv.

Astronauts going to Mars would receive huge, unsafe radiation doses 01 | TweakTown.com

The new paper was authored by researchers from an assortment of international universities and institutes, though it has yet to be peer-reviewed. It considers the impact of ionizing radiation originating from the sun and from outside the solar system on the health of astronauts that intend to journey to Mars in the future. Ionizing radiation is one of the main impedances to astronaut health for such a trip, and a spaceship would provide little protection over the estimated 300 days one way.

Planned missions to Mars are expected to have astronauts undergo much longer missions than they currently do to the International Space Station (ISS) or the Moon, the former of which has its astronauts much more protected from radiation thanks to Earth's magnetosphere. Once on Mars, the significantly less substantial atmosphere compared to Earth would provide little protection to astronauts from continued radiation exposure. This risks exposing astronauts to "Acute Radiation Syndrome, damage to the nervous system, and increased cancer risk."

The European Space Agency (ESA) and Roscosmos, Russia's space agency, have set the limit for radiation their astronauts and cosmonauts can be exposed to over their entire career at 1 Sievert (Sv), with even lower limits being imposed by other space agencies, like NASA 0.6 Sv. For the 1,000-day round trip that the researchers considered, they found that most organs in an astronaut's body would contain radiation levels exceeding 1 Sv, rendering a mission to Mars untenable with current approaches.

You can read more from the paper here.

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Adam grew up watching his dad play Turok 2 and Age of Empires on a PC in his computer room, and learned a love for video games through him. Adam was always working with computers, which helped build his natural affinity for working with them, leading to him building his own at 14, after taking apart and tinkering with other old computers and tech lying around. Adam has always been very interested in STEM subjects, and is always trying to learn more about the world and the way it works.

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