Science

Mars Radiation Cause For Concern For Manned Missions

By Rodney Rafols , Nov 21, 2016 11:41 PM EST
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There are a number of planned manned expeditions in the years to come. Some of these manned missions are by government agencies, while others are by private companies. All of these missions face a new set of challenges as man has not stepped on Mars before. Mars radiation is a cause for concern for manned missions in the future.

For people going to Mars, there are new challenges that await them. Those challenges include the long flight to get there as well as survival. The key to any Mars exploration is survival, as just on the trip itself there are already challenges. Radiation would be a big issue even before people would set foot on Mars.

Exposure to radiation begins as soon as the ship leaves Earth and enters into space. Protection from radiation would have to be placed on the craft carrying people to Mars. NASA has much experience with this with the lunar manned missions and later on with the space shuttle program and the International Space Station. Russia has experience in this as well.

Private companies though are starting space exploration for the first time, and many of them don't have the experience yet for manned missions though many are working on it. SpaceX has unmanned flights already done before the September 1 accident. Mars One have plans as well for the manned Mars mission, according to Universe Today.

For the Mars mission, Mars One has plans that would provide shielding to the spacecraft, transit vehicle and habitation module. There is additional protection inside the Mars Transit Habitat in case of a solar flare, which is an event where deadly radiation streams from the Sun.

Aside from its experiences in handling manned missions, NASA also has a number of satellites that study the Sun and the environment around it. NASA is also looking for better shielding for astronauts and equipment.

For Mars though the real challenge is how to keep radiation off from the planet. Scientists theorize that Mars is exposed to much radiation because it doesn't have a magnetosphere. It has lost its magnetosphere billions of years ago, as Phys Org reports. This might be due to a large impact or else its core has cooled rapidly.

Now there is a proposal to reactivate Mars' magnetosphere. Sam Factor, a graduate student from the Department of Astronomy at the University of Texas, said that there are two ways to achieve this. One is to detonate several thermonuclear warheads at the planet's core. The other is to run a large electric current to the core, which would cause it to heat up. Once the core is liquefied Mars' rotation would cause a dynamo effect, which would raise its magnetic field.

Another proposal is to create an artificial magnetic field. This is modeled after a similar proposal for the Earth in 2008. Research made by the National Institute for Fusion Science (NIFS) in Japan showed that the Earth's magnetic field dropped 10 percent over the past 150 years. The proposal is to make superconducting rings around the Earth to produce an artificial magnetic field.

As people prepare for manned Mars missions, Mars radiation is cause for concern for the manned missions. There is much needed protection from it for the survival of people going there. In addition to this, Mars One has revealed the space suit to be used for the Mars mission.

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