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New data from Trace Gas Orbiter, part of Europe’s ExoMars project, says a journey to Mars will expose humans to significant radiation.
The results imply that on a six-month journey to the Red Planet, and assuming six-months back again, an astronaut could be exposed to at least 60% of the total radiation dose limit recommended for their entire career.
The ExoMars data, which is in good agreement with data from Mars Science Laboratory’s cruise to Mars in 2011–2012 and with other particle detectors currently in space – taking into account the different solar conditions – will be used to verify radiation environment models and assessments of the radiation risk to the crewmembers of future exploration missions.
This data was gathered during the spacecraft’s journey to Mars during a time of falling solar activity. Thus, the radiation exposure came more from cosmic rays than from solar activity.