Cosmic rays threaten future manned missions to Mars, say researchers

Cosmic rays have created radiation hazards in space that potentially threaten future deep-space astronaut missions to Mars, said researchers.

hidden October 22, 2014 11:15:54 IST
Cosmic rays threaten future manned missions to Mars, say researchers

Washington: Cosmic rays have created radiation hazards in space that potentially threaten future deep-space astronaut missions, said researchers.

Cosmic rays threaten future manned missions to Mars say researchers

Researchers say future manned missions to Mars might not be possible. AP

Due to a highly abnormal solar activity, the solar wind is exhibiting extremely low densities and magnetic field strengths, which causes dangerous levels of hazardous radiation to pervade the space environment.

"The behaviour of the Sun has recently changed and is now in a state not observed for almost 100 years," said associate professor Nathan Schwadron of the Institute for the Study of Earth, Oceans and Space (EOS) at the University of New Hampshire in the US.

These conditions brought about the highest intensities of galactic cosmic rays seen since the beginning of the space age.

"While these conditions are not necessarily a showstopper for long-duration missions to the moon, an asteroid, or even Mars, galactic cosmic ray radiation in particular remains a significant and worsening factor that limits mission durations," Schwadron added.

The high radiation levels seen during the Sun's last minimum cycle limits the allowable days for astronauts behind spacecraft shielding.

Given the trend of reducing solar output, the allowable days in space for astronauts is dropping and estimated to be 20 percent lower in the coming solar minimum cycle as compared with the last minimum cycle.

"These data are a fundamental reference for the radiation hazards in near Earth 'geospace' and other regions of our Sun's vast heliosphere," Schwadron concluded.

The paper was published in the journal Space Weather.

IANS

Updated Date:

also read

Technical glitch keeps Ingenuity helicopter grounded on fourth Mars flight attempt
science

Technical glitch keeps Ingenuity helicopter grounded on fourth Mars flight attempt

A glitch associated with its "watchdog timer," which alerts it to potential problems, pauses its processes if it thinks it has detected an error.

Tianwen-1: How China's Mars lander Zhurong will attempt to touch down on the red planet
science

Tianwen-1: How China's Mars lander Zhurong will attempt to touch down on the red planet

Tianwen-1 will use a laser range finder to work out where it is relative to Martian terrain and microwave sensor to determine its speed more accurately.

Queues for oxygen, beds and funerals, thanks to Modi govt, says Rahul Gandhi as COVID-19 engulfs India
India

Queues for oxygen, beds and funerals, thanks to Modi govt, says Rahul Gandhi as COVID-19 engulfs India

The Congress leader accused Central Government of misreading and mishandling the COVID-19 situation in India and alleged that all early warning signs were ignored, including from scientists