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-   -   Mars: Radiation would constitute a threat to astronauts? (http://www.startrekmovie.com/forums/showthread.php?t=11855)

omegaman 08-08-2012 02:46 PM

Mars: Radiation would constitute a threat to astronauts?
 
Curiosity's RADIATION detector.

Quote:
"This radiation would be hazardous to any microbes alive on the planet today, but would also constitute a threat to the health of any future astronauts on the Red Planet."

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-19186237

Does this rule out human exploration altogether?

Akula2ssn 08-08-2012 03:39 PM

I'd say it just makes it impracticable at this time. I don't think technology in general has reached the point where we could do it with a reasonable margin of safety let alone cost. The other thing is that for what we're doing right now, unmanned probes can get the job done at less cost with no risk to us. It's not that we can't strive for manned missions but there's not necessarily any reason for it to be a high priority.

Captain Tom Coughlin 08-08-2012 03:47 PM

It's a risk in space travel in general. It's a risk on the moon and in orbit. A low earth orbit does provide protection, but the levels of radiation are still increased.

Saquist 08-08-2012 04:13 PM

I don't think so. The Apollo Command Module was apparently heavily shielded.

In terms of hazard to crewmen in the heavy, well-shielded command module,
even the largest solar-particle event on record (November 12, 1960) would not have
caused any impairment of crewmember functions or ability of the crewmen to complete
their mission safely. It is estimated that within the command module during this event
the crewmen would have received a dose of 60 to 100 rads to their skin and 10 to 30 rads
to their blood-forming organs (bone and spleen)

Routine chest x-ray, per image: About 3-7 rads


Akula2ssn 08-08-2012 05:25 PM

As with any radiation risk, it's really a matter of minimizing exposure. Getting an x-ray isn't that bad because you aren't...or at least shouldn't be getting an x-ray all the time. It's a spike in your exposure but it shouldn't be happening often enough to start creating cumulative effects. And that's really the main issue of long term manned space flight. Can we keep the levels of exposure low enough to not have any detrimental cumulative effects.

Saquist 08-08-2012 08:31 PM

60 rads over the full time of the mission is pretty good.
Mars will be 3 months away and 3 months back. They'll need proper protection true.

omegaman 08-08-2012 09:09 PM

Is the radiation higher and more dangerous in space or on the planet?

Akula2ssn 08-09-2012 06:01 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by omegaman (Post 325990)
Is the radiation higher and more dangerous in space or on the planet?

As a rule of thumb, probably in space. However, the term radiation is a very broad term covering many different forms from different sources. Different types of radiation can require different types of shielding. Some forms at some levels, the dead outer layer of your skin is sufficient. Some require use of lead or some metal for protection. Some can actually be made worse by metal shielding (ie Bremsstrahlung effect) thus a dense plastic is the preferred choice. Part of the reason we aren't directly bombarded by cosmic rays is because of the Earth's atmosphere. I think you can actually see a measurable increase in exposure to cosmic rays in people who fly at high altitudes regularly though I'd have to check on that. Another thing that has probably helped us here on Earth is our magnetosphere. I don't think Mars even has a magnetic field anymore. We aren't even sure if it ever had plate tectonic activity. While we do see what appear to be signs of it, overall, the planet is relatively featureless, suggesting that if it did have tectonics it ceased a long time ago and many of the signs probably have since been erased due to weathering over time. On top of that I believe Mars has less mass than Earth so less gravity and likely less atmosphere so there's potential of less protection planetside.

Sources of radiation are just as variable and are all around us. Lead 210 is one source of radiation that we are constantly exposed to here on Earth. It's naturally in the air and soil.

omegaman 08-09-2012 01:29 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Akula2ssn (Post 325992)
As a rule of thumb, probably in space. However, the term radiation is a very broad term covering many different forms from different sources. Different types of radiation can require different types of shielding. Some forms at some levels, the dead outer layer of your skin is sufficient. Some require use of lead or some metal for protection. Some can actually be made worse by metal shielding (ie Bremsstrahlung effect) thus a dense plastic is the preferred choice. Part of the reason we aren't directly bombarded by cosmic rays is because of the Earth's atmosphere. I think you can actually see a measurable increase in exposure to cosmic rays in people who fly at high altitudes regularly though I'd have to check on that. Another thing that has probably helped us here on Earth is our magnetosphere. I don't think Mars even has a magnetic field anymore. We aren't even sure if it ever had plate tectonic activity. While we do see what appear to be signs of it, overall, the planet is relatively featureless, suggesting that if it did have tectonics it ceased a long time ago and many of the signs probably have since been erased due to weathering over time. On top of that I believe Mars has less mass than Earth so less gravity and likely less atmosphere so there's potential of less protection planetside.

Sources of radiation are just as variable and are all around us. Lead 210 is one source of radiation that we are constantly exposed to here on Earth. It's naturally in the air and soil.

Thanks. That's interesting.

Saquist 08-09-2012 03:04 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Akula2ssn (Post 325992)
As a rule of thumb, probably in space. However, the term radiation is a very broad term covering many different forms from different sources. Different types of radiation can require different types of shielding. Some forms at some levels, the dead outer layer of your skin is sufficient. Some require use of lead or some metal for protection. Some can actually be made worse by metal shielding (ie Bremsstrahlung effect) thus a dense plastic is the preferred choice. Part of the reason we aren't directly bombarded by cosmic rays is because of the Earth's atmosphere. I think you can actually see a measurable increase in exposure to cosmic rays in people who fly at high altitudes regularly though I'd have to check on that. Another thing that has probably helped us here on Earth is our magnetosphere. I don't think Mars even has a magnetic field anymore. We aren't even sure if it ever had plate tectonic activity. While we do see what appear to be signs of it, overall, the planet is relatively featureless, suggesting that if it did have tectonics it ceased a long time ago and many of the signs probably have since been erased due to weathering over time. On top of that I believe Mars has less mass than Earth so less gravity and likely less atmosphere so there's potential of less protection planetside.

Sources of radiation are just as variable and are all around us. Lead 210 is one source of radiation that we are constantly exposed to here on Earth. It's naturally in the air and soil.


Radiation comes in essentially 3 different varieties.
Alpha,
Beta
and Gamma Radiation.

Alpha radiation is extremely weak and can be blocked by a sheet of paper. The radiation from the aftermath of of the Nagasaki and Hiroshima detonations is this type. It last a very very long time but it's extremely weak.

Beta Radiation, is stronger than alpha and weaker than gamma radiation. Usually another type of radioactive decay from isotopes. It's penetration is more powerful and can be stopped by a few millimeters of aluminum. This is the type of radiation coming from the sun on average. Highly charged and blocked by Ozone and the Earth's shields.

Gamma Radiation is a higher frequency form of the above. In a nuclearly detonation this is part of the initial flash point, or in super nova's it is the first sign (other than neutrinos) of an explosion. They are short lived but their high frequency allows them to penetrate just about the most densest material.

The sun can put out GRB's in CME's (coronal mass ejections) but this is not common and it's a direction blast so spacecraft have to be within the line of sight of the burst.


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