Hidden Nook

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Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Radiation Jeopardizing Martian Mission

[Media Source*]

(Universe Today) One of the risks for sending humans to Mars is the lethal doses of radiation coming off the Sun in coronal mass ejections (CMEs). Researchers from the University of Warwick are proposing ways we can fill gaps in understanding about these processes and ensure astronaut safety. In addition to watching the far side of the Sun for CMEs, and developing detection equipment the astronauts can carry on their spacecraft, the researchers think we need to better understand how CMEs travel in the regions between Earth and Mars.

This is probably the greatest risk that astronauts have when traveling to other worlds within our solar system. Unlike the space station or even shuttles orbiting our world, a mission towards Mars would not only have the disadvantage of traveling unprotected throughout space (via the Earth's magnetosphere) but would have to cope with the possibility of being overly exposed to the Sun's massive amount of radiation when a burst occurs.

One proposal is to launch satellites to observe the "far side" of the sun, thus sending feed back and data when as well as how these bursts occur. These satellites could not only serve as observation posts but also double as solar beacons, warning incoming shuttles when a burst is about to occur in order to give astronauts as well as future colonists time to evacuate into "radiation safe havens" within the space craft.

Although traveling to the red planet will be difficult, (especially when compared to the moon) such a journey is necessary in order for humanity to escape their "cradle" on planet earth. Sending, building and establishing a colony on the lunar surface will prepare the human race for a "Martian invasion," and the trek for Mars will prepare humanity for it's biggest endeavor ever: exploring the final frontier.

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By Darnell Clayton • 11:13 PM • Email Post • •


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