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Cosmic rays are so dangerous and so poorly understood that people are unlikely to get to Mars or even back to the moon until better ways are found to protect astronauts, experts said on Monday.
"Given today's knowledge and today's understanding of radiation protection, to put someone out in that type of environment would violate the current requirements that NASA has."
NOWHERE TO HIDE
The cosmic rays include galactic cosmic radiation or GCR and solar particles.
"You can put on very thick walls and they just won't protect you from that," van Hoften said. "The younger you are the worse it is," he added, because as with many types of radiation, it can take years for the damage to cause disease.