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"Curiosity's First Daredevil Stunt" Mars vehicle measureing radiation to see how safe it is for h

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posted on Aug, 3 2012 @ 08:43 PM
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Some interesting news out of NASA, Curiosity is measuring the radiation on the way to mars.



For the past nine months, Curiosity has been acting as a stunt double for astronauts, exposing itself to the same cosmic radiation humans would experience following the same route to Mars1.

"Curiosity has been hit by five major flares and solar particle events in the Earth-Mars expanse," says Don Hassler of the Southwest Research Institute in Boulder, Colorado. "The rover is safe, and it has been beaming back invaluable data."

Unlike previous Mars rovers, Curiosity is equipped with an instrument that measures space radiation. The Radiation Assessment Detector, nicknamed "RAD," counts cosmic rays, neutrons, protons and other particles over a wide range of biologically-interesting energies. RADs prime mission is to investigate the radiation environment on the surface of Mars, but NASA turned it on during the cruise phase so that it could sense radiation en route to Mars as well.

Curiosity’s location inside the spacecraft is key to the experiment.

"Curiosity is riding to Mars in the belly of the spacecraft, similar to where an astronaut would be," explains Hassler, RAD's principal investigator. "This means the rover absorbs deep-space radiation storms the same way a real astronaut would."

Even supercomputers have trouble calculating exactly what happens when high-energy cosmic rays and solar energetic particles hit the walls of a spacecraft. One particle hits another; fragments fly; the fragments themselves crash into other molecules.

"It’s very complicated. Curiosity has given us a chance to measure what happens in a real-life situation."

Hassler says the walls of the Mars Science Lab spacecraft have performed as expected: Only the strongest radiation storms have made it inside. Moreover, charged particles penetrating the hull have been slowed down and fragmented by their interaction with the spacecraft's metal skin.


They make it sound safe, but i don't understand the chart in terms of radiation, can anyone here?

This data will definitely put an interesting spin on the whole... "did they goto the moon?" argument.

Of course ... NASA is Never A Strait Answer to some...

Will be interesting to get the full data longs, and will of course play into that and many other debates here on ATS.




posted on Aug, 3 2012 @ 08:51 PM
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Methinks that spike is not good for people at all. Any spaceship to mars is going to need a "storm shelter", a shielded room where the astronauts can hide from solar flares given advanced warning. Unfortunately, that sounds heavy.



posted on Aug, 3 2012 @ 08:58 PM
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They make it sound safe, but i don't understand the chart in terms of radiation, can anyone here?

It doesn't really make it sound safe. It says they found pretty much what they expected to find.

RAD's readings are still being analyzed in advance of submission to a scientific journal, Hassler told me, but the exposure equaled "a few tens of percent" of NASA's career limit. And that's just for a one-way trip. Astronauts would face additional exposure during their work on Mars and on the return trip.

cosmiclog.nbcnews.com...

In other words the radiation absorbed by astronauts on a Mars mission would be dangerous. RAD will help figure out how dangerous.

While solar particle storms (the spikes in the data) can be dangerous they are sporadic. Cosmic rays, on the other hand, are continuous (though of lower flux levels).



posted on Aug, 3 2012 @ 09:37 PM
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reply to post by Phage
 


Outside of the extra cost of getting lead up into orbit and the extra cost of fuel to get it on the move. Why couldn't they just use lead shielding?



posted on Aug, 3 2012 @ 09:51 PM
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reply to post by SLAYER69
 

Outside of cost...there are better options than lead.

The problem is really the secondary radiation produced by particles hitting the atoms of the shielding material. The heavier the shielding material the worse the problem. This makes lead quite unsuitable. By this logic water (because of the hydrogen in it) would probably be the best material but it isn't light either.

It's a big problem.


edit on 8/3/2012 by Phage because: (no reason given)



posted on Aug, 3 2012 @ 10:04 PM
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reply to post by Phage
 


I'm no expert, but it sounds to me like we're pretty much stuck here. If we can't safely traverse space, then it doesn't seem to me like it's a worthwhile endeavor. If it potentially causes major damage to a person on a single trip to Mars, how much more of a toll would the same effects have on a really long term trip. Say, to Enceladus or maybe even another star? It doesn't seem like a great idea to send people on a long journey that would end up killing them or making reproduction or long term living possible.

It's also interesting to consider that these effects are seen so close to us, Mars isn't that far away in the grand scheme of things. We can't even begin to imagine how bad conditions outside of the solar sphere might be. I'm picturing it as a series of concentric rings. We start in the small one, here on earth. It's nice here, and we live quite nicely. But, the next ring sucks. It's the range that's just outside of earth's atmosphere. Beyond that is this circle that extends to mars. Curiosity is showing us that it sucks worse out there. Just imagine getting beyond the solar system, out into the ethereal emptiness of interstellar space. It's like the bigger rings just get worse and worse for us!



posted on Aug, 3 2012 @ 10:09 PM
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reply to post by Mapkar
 

It is a real problem. But don't give up.
New materials, magnetic shielding, combination of the two... Nothing really adequate as yet though.

edit on 8/3/2012 by Phage because: (no reason given)



posted on Aug, 3 2012 @ 10:17 PM
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Originally posted by Mapkar
reply to post by Phage
 


I'm no expert, but it sounds to me like we're pretty much stuck here. If we can't safely traverse space, With our current technological capabilities, then it doesn't seem to me like it's a worthwhile endeavor. (Snip)


Bold was added by me

The reason i added this is because there is no telling where we will be in the next, lets say 100 years.

All this is IMO, is another hurdle that we have to jump. As long as we never give up asking questions, or stop wondering whats out there, we can only go forward as a species right? (Forgetting all the current problems in the world)

Anyways i thought i'd post, always been interested in space.


Latest MSL Updates
MSL Right on Course -- TCM-5 Cancelled Fri, 03 Aug 2012 01:43:25 PM PDT
With less than three days to go before touchdown on the Red Planet, Curiosity remains in good health, with all systems operating as expected. Given the Mars Science Laboratory spacecraft's consistent and stable course, today the project decided that the planned Trajectory Correction Maneuver 5 (TCM-5) and its corresponding update to parameters for the autonomous software controlling events during entry, descent and landing will not be necessary. As of 12:35 p.m. today PDT (3:35 p.m. EDT), the Mars Science Laboratory spacecraft was approximately 468,000 miles (753,200 kilometers) from Mars, or a little less than twice the distance from Earth to the moon. It is traveling at about 8,000 mph (3,576 meters per second). It will gradually increase in speed to about 13,200 mph (5,900 meters per second) by the time it reaches the top of the Martian atmosphere.NASA site


edit on 3-8-2012 by Anishnaabe because: (no reason given)

edit on 3-8-2012 by Anishnaabe because: typos

edit on 3-8-2012 by Anishnaabe because: added NASA update



posted on Aug, 3 2012 @ 10:26 PM
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Could water act as a shield , if stored in outer wall storage ?

From my understanding Mars lacks a magnetic Core , meaning that Mars has no magnetic field to protect any would be explorer . Givin that , would the planet offer any greater protection then space it's self from radiation ? Not counting the coverage of caves of course .
edit on 3-8-2012 by Max_TO because: (no reason given)



posted on Aug, 3 2012 @ 10:44 PM
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Originally posted by SLAYER69
reply to post by Phage
 


Outside of the extra cost of getting lead up into orbit and the extra cost of fuel to get it on the moveEasi. Why couldn't they just use lead shielding?
Easier to shield the whole craft I guess.And on Mars they would need shielded suits.Hopefully they have some kind of composit material against the radiation.



posted on Aug, 3 2012 @ 10:59 PM
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Originally posted by Max_TO
Could water act as a shield , if stored in outer wall storage ?


Absolutely, I believe I read some science magazines many years ago talking about this...

Here is a NASA page talking about using water:

For Mars transit, mine water ice or regolith on the moon and use it to shield the spacecraft enroute

link

EDIT TO ADD: I made a dumb mistake, I forgot the NASA source article in my OP, it says time for editing is expired now. I posted this in a rush out the door to a movie.. can a mod please add the link in the OP, thank you: OP LINK ARTICLE



edit on 3-8-2012 by pianopraze because: ...



posted on Aug, 3 2012 @ 11:07 PM
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An 18 month travel time, deadly radiation, ugh. I can see why they don't have a moon base yet, let alone one on Mars.

Space travel is deadly in the long term.



posted on Aug, 3 2012 @ 11:18 PM
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Radiation Aayy??

Well considering the Curiosity's power pack IS a Nuclear Powered battery source (yes another hidden tech, kept form the masses), and doesnt use Sola power to keep going.......One wonders how much "Radiation" is eminating from the Power pack, inside the spacecraft??...... Just a thought.


I wonder what the Martians will think of the Nuclear pollution from Earth?

"This Planet isnt big enough for the two of us!!"



posted on Aug, 3 2012 @ 11:19 PM
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Something assembled in space would mitigate the weight factor. Once it is outside the Earth's gravity, weight isn't as much of an issue. Perhaps put the shielded crew cabin in stable orbit, and then send the transport vehicle up later to latch on and send it to Mars. Perhaps a redesign so the crew is not in the belly, but more on the front so there is more interference, more devices, shielded wiring and electronics between the crew and the side facing the sun? But that would require a way to modify it for the trip back to Earth. Then again, what is the point of a manned trip to Mars if we aren't going to land, and if we are planning on landing there we'll need a LOT more technology available to launch off the surface to return.

I think we're a long, long way from landing a human on Mars, and I don't see the point of sending one to orbit Mars, when robotics are just as effective.



posted on Aug, 3 2012 @ 11:23 PM
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as supercomputers increase in abilities within the next 10-50 years, I think they will be able to work with us in creating radiation resistant suits for that type of travel.

or even some type of drug or chemical reaction within the human body to resist those doses.



posted on Aug, 3 2012 @ 11:39 PM
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Originally posted by getreadyalready
Something assembled in space would mitigate the weight factor. Once it is outside the Earth's gravity, weight isn't as much of an issue. Perhaps put the shielded crew cabin in stable orbit, and then send the transport vehicle up later to latch on and send it to Mars. Perhaps a redesign so the crew is not in the belly, but more on the front so there is more interference, more devices, shielded wiring and electronics between the crew and the side facing the sun? But that would require a way to modify it for the trip back to Earth. Then again, what is the point of a manned trip to Mars if we aren't going to land, and if we are planning on landing there we'll need a LOT more technology available to launch off the surface to return.

I think we're a long, long way from landing a human on Mars, and I don't see the point of sending one to orbit Mars, when robotics are just as effective.


The long time answer from what I've read (as shown in the NASA article talking about using moon water for shielding)... is to build a base on the moon as a launching platform to goto mars... a lot easier to get the water there (and other materials) and get it on the way to mars.

Of course politics intervened and ....



posted on Aug, 3 2012 @ 11:41 PM
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Originally posted by yourmaker
as supercomputers increase in abilities within the next 10-50 years, I think they will be able to work with us in creating radiation resistant suits for that type of travel.

or even some type of drug or chemical reaction within the human body to resist those doses.


If Kurzweil's meeting of man and machine happens as he predicts... maybe the man will be the machine going to mars... I'm sure it will be one of the uses championed for this atrocity...

One of my own personal conspiracy musings is: what if the greys (if they are real) are just us from the future messed up by genetic engineering and mixing with machinery...


jra

posted on Aug, 4 2012 @ 01:14 AM
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Originally posted by gort51
Well considering the Curiosity's power pack IS a Nuclear Powered battery source (yes another hidden tech, kept form the masses)


How exactly is a Radioisotope Thermoelectric Generator, "hidden tech"? RTG's have been used on many spacecraft over the past decades.


One wonders how much "Radiation" is eminating from the Power pack, inside the spacecraft??...... Just a thought.


I would imagine very little, if any. Plutonium 238 emits alpha radiation. Human skin can block alpha particles, so I'd imagine whatever the Pu-238 is being kept in, is more than enough to shield the rest of the rover from the radiation in the RTG.



posted on Aug, 4 2012 @ 04:30 AM
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in the end engineers will probably deduce that the most feasible way of providing adequate physical protection from radiation will have to be to build very heavy ships, its not too far fetched to think the first interplanetary vehicle will finish construction in orbit. I was watching a show not too long ago though that was theorizing if we could generate a magnetic field similar to earth around a ship you would have significant radiation shielding BUT what kind of power source would we need for something like that? Man the next 20 years are going to be interesting.

just noticed too, so the rover is going to be deducing how dangerous the radiation exposure is on the surface of mars also?
edit on 4-8-2012 by POPtheKlEEN89 because: (no reason given)

edit on 4-8-2012 by POPtheKlEEN89 because: (no reason given)



posted on Aug, 4 2012 @ 07:45 AM
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Originally posted by Phage
reply to post by SLAYER69
 

Outside of cost...there are better options than lead.

The problem is really the secondary radiation produced by particles hitting the atoms of the shielding material. The heavier the shielding material the worse the problem. This makes lead quite unsuitable. By this logic water (because of the hydrogen in it) would probably be the best material but it isn't light either.

It's a big problem.


edit on 8/3/2012 by Phage because: (no reason given)


water would be needed for the trip regardless
so i dont see why water couldnt be used as the shielding material with some kind of dividers so that as the water is used it could be replaced with urine along with anything collected by the dehumidifers without getting into the clean water as the water recycling systems convert it back into clean water and back into that portion of the shielding/storage tank

but realistically i think they will probably use some kind of graphite nano fiber coating with a second more conventional layer behind it either way it is a problem but not something even close to unsolvable
edit on 4-8-2012 by sirhumperdink because: (no reason given)




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