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Mars NASA Space Science

Mars-Bound Probe Serves As Radiation Guinea Pig 67

sighted writes "This week's huge solar storm will benefit future astronauts, thanks to the rover Curiosity, now on its way to Mars. The rover is equipped with an instrument that measures the radiation exposure that could affect a human astronaut en route to the Red Planet. Scientists are just starting to pore over the data from the blast of particles. Don't worry about the poor robotic geologist, though: 'No harmful effects to the Mars Science Laboratory have been detected from this solar event,' says NASA."
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Mars-Bound Probe Serves As Radiation Guinea Pig

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  • Re:D.O.A. (Score:5, Informative)

    by celticryan ( 887773 ) on Saturday January 28, 2012 @12:01AM (#38847859)
    You are not quite right. For this sort of radiation, lead is not so great. You want shielding that contains lots of low-Z nuclei. The more hydrogen the better. This is because you get a lot of secondary nuclear fragments and hydrogen minimizes these sort of interactions. For Mars, it actually isn't the solar storms that are worrying - it is the fairly constant galactic cosmic ray background that is more difficult to shield against. It is has a high energy tail that is quit penetrating.

    Solar storms are important, but a small storm shelter inside the craft can, in principal, handle this. Storms are typically short, so confining the crew to this area is typically reasonable.
  • Re:D.O.A. (Score:4, Informative)

    by celticryan ( 887773 ) on Saturday January 28, 2012 @12:06AM (#38847869)
    These have/are being looked into. See this review by Townsend from a few years ago: []

    Nothing has really changed in the state of the art of active shielding. They all fail miserably at even the theory stage or practical engineering stage.

In seeking the unattainable, simplicity only gets in the way. -- Epigrams in Programming, ACM SIGPLAN Sept. 1982