Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Protection for humans on Mars

Date:
September 18, 2012
Source:
Helmholtz Association of German Research Centres
Summary:
For six weeks NASA's Mars rover Curiosity has been working on the Red Planet. NASA also plans to send humans to Mars within the next 20 years. On the flight and during the stay on Moon or Mars, the astronauts have to be protected against long exposure to cosmic radiation that might cause cancer. Scientists are testing whether Moon and Mars regolith can be used to build shieldings for ground stations.

Shielding for astronauts could be built on Mars from Martian sand.
Credit: G. Otto / Helmholtz Association of German Research Centres

For six weeks NASA's Mars rover Curiosity has been working on the Red Planet. NASA also plans to send humans to Mars within the next 20 years. On the flight and during the stay on Moon or Mars the astronauts have to be protected against long exposure to cosmic radiation that might cause cancer.

On behalf of the European Space Agency ESA the GSI Helmholtzzentrum für Schwerionenforschung GmbH tests whether Moon and Mars regolith can be used to build shieldings for ground stations.

On Earth the atmosphere and the magnetic field weaken cosmic rays. But on Moon and Mars they pelt down unhamperdly. The cosmic radiation can harm astronauts and could cause cancer in the long run as a result of damage in DNA and cells.

Chiara La Tessa is manager of experiments in GSI biophysics. She explains why Moon or Mars ground stations would not be built from terrestrial high tech material: "In space travels every gram counts. Transporting building material through space would lead to a cost explosion. That is why ground stations would basically be built from Moon and Mars regolith -- especially the shielding. We know from the analyses done by rovers what the local sand and stones consist of. With this information one can produce Moon and Mars regolith on Earth and we test it for its properties." As cosmic rays are nothing else but fast ions that were accelerated by star explosions they can be simulated by an accelerator. The GSI facility is one of the few able to reproduce cosmic rays in an original way.

After the GSI team tested how well the stone slabs can protect against radiation in the American accelerator laboratory in Brookhaven, they now explore how many neutrons are produced in the materials when radiated.

If cosmic rays strike the stones with full speed they smash some atomic nuclei to pieces. The resulting free neutrons have a different effect on the human body than cosmic radiation. Depending on their speed they might even be more harmful.

At GSI the scientists now tested how strong the neutron effect is in Moon and Mars regolith and how far it passes through the material. „I cannot estimate how the material is going to react to the radiation yet," says La Tessa. „Will many neutrons be produced? How many fast and how many slow ones? This we will know when we analyzed our experiment data."

The tests funded by ESA were coordinated by Thales Alenia Space Italia. The prime contractor of ESA's project also designed the test plan in cooperation with GSI, chose the materials and evaluats the results.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Helmholtz Association of German Research Centres. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Helmholtz Association of German Research Centres. "Protection for humans on Mars." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 18 September 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/09/120918121545.htm>.
Helmholtz Association of German Research Centres. (2012, September 18). Protection for humans on Mars. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 28, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/09/120918121545.htm
Helmholtz Association of German Research Centres. "Protection for humans on Mars." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/09/120918121545.htm (accessed August 28, 2014).

Share This




More Space & Time News

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Experiment Tests Whether Universe Is Actually A Hologram

Experiment Tests Whether Universe Is Actually A Hologram

Newsy (Aug. 27, 2014) — Researchers at Fermilab are using a device called "The Holometer" to test whether our universe is actually a 2-D hologram that just seems 3-D. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
SpaceX’s Falcon 9 Rocket Explodes After Liftoff

SpaceX’s Falcon 9 Rocket Explodes After Liftoff

Newsy (Aug. 23, 2014) — The private spaceflight company says it is preparing a thorough investigation into Friday's mishap. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Did Russia Really Find Plankton On The ISS? NASA Not So Sure

Did Russia Really Find Plankton On The ISS? NASA Not So Sure

Newsy (Aug. 21, 2014) — Russian cosmonauts say they've found evidence of sea plankton on the International Space Station's windows. NASA is a little more skeptical. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Space to Ground: Hello Georges

Space to Ground: Hello Georges

NASA (Aug. 18, 2014) — Europe's ATV-5 delivers new science and the crew tests smart SPHERES. Questions or comments? Use #spacetoground to talk to us. Video provided by NASA
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins