Mars trip radiation said 'survivable'

Dec. 4, 2012 at 5:32 PM   |   Comments

SAN FRANCISCO, Dec. 4 (UPI) -- Astronauts on a long-term, round-trip mission to Mars would experience radiation exposure levels considered significant but survivable, NASA says.

Radiation data gathered by NASA's Mars rover Curiosity -- both on the way to the Red Planet and while on the planet's surface -- suggest astronauts on a two-and-a-half year mission there would receive a total radiation dose of about 1.1 sieverts, the space agency reported.

"The rough ballpark average for an astronaut career limit is on the order of a sievert," Curiosity scientist Don Hassler of the Southwest Research Institute in Boulder, Colo., said Monday.

Data from instruments on Curiosity show radiation levels on the Martian surface -- about 0.7 millisieverts a day -- are similar to the 0.4 to 1.0 daily millisieverts astronauts in low-Earth orbit encounter, SPACE.com reported.

Levels encountered in space during the long trip to Mars would be a greater concern, scientists said.

Radiation levels recorded by Curiosity instruments during the 8-month voyage to Mars averaged 1.9 millisieverts a day.

"We can survive the Mars surface," Hassler said. "The hard part is the cruise."

Hassler made the comments at the annual fall meeting of the American Geophysical Union in San Francisco.

© 2012 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
Recommended UPI Stories
Most Popular
Obama's plan calls for computer chip implants to help soldiers heal
Wolf yawns are contagious
Newfoundland fossil is earliest evidence of muscled animals
Washington State's Elwha River flows free once again
Tech industry All Stars developing 'Star Trek'-style communication badges
Trending News