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Radiation could restrict crewed Mars missions to less than four years

Radiation could restrict crewed Mars missions to less than four years, New Atlas By David Szondy, September 04, 2021  An international team of scientists has calculated that a crewed mission to Mars should only last a maximum of four years if the astronauts’ health isn’t to be endangered by prolonged exposure to cosmic radiation.Planning a crewed mission to Mars would be one of the most daunting challenges of any exploration attempt ever made by humanity. Every aspect of such a multi-year adventure would have complex impacts on every other factor, producing a constant tug of war as scientists and engineers seek compromises to fulfill mission requirements.

As well as things like engine type, crew numbers, diet, and a thousand other things, planning also needs to take into account the ever-present hazard of radiation. Once outside of the protective envelope of the Earth’s atmosphere and its magnetic field, the astronauts would be at the mercy of cosmic rays from the Sun and the larger galaxy, so the question is, how to minimize such a threat?………………….

 a mission that lasted longer than four years would expose the crew to dangerous levels of radiation before returning to Earth, which puts an upper limit on mission time.

One reason for this limit is the nature of the radiation hazard. The worst danger would be from GCRs because they are so energetic that when the researchers used models of human organs and set them behind different shields, the shielding material itself becomes a problem.

There are many different ways to shield an astronaut, including heavy metal plates, tanks of water, or slabs of low-density polymers. The problem is that a shield heavy enough to provide direct protection not only causes weight issues for the spacecraft, the shield can also give off secondary radiation as the cosmic rays split the atoms in the shield…………

September 6, 2021 - Posted by | 2 WORLD, space travel

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