According to NASA, initial reading of cosmic radiation on Mars shows that it’s almost the same as on the International Space Station.
“The astronauts can live in this environment,” Don Hassler, principal investigator on Curiosity’s Radiation Assessment Detector instrument (RAD), according to CNET.com on Monday.
Hassler said the atmosphere on the planets serves as shield to block dangerous dose of cosmic in the space.
“Basically, we’re finding that the Mars atmosphere is acting as a shield for the radiation on the surface and as the atmosphere gets thicker, that provides more of a shield and therefore we see a dip in our radiation dose,” added Hassler.
Curiosity’s findings on Mars marks the first time cosmic rays have been measure on another planet. Ironically, it happened 100 years since Victor Hess found out cosmic rays on our planet with the use of a hot-air balloon.
Even before it made an historic landing on Mars, Curiosity was already detecting radiation during its eight-month journey through space and found out high levels of cosmic rays.
Despite the initial findings, Hassler said the data must still be calibrated and more information are needed to find out how much radiation space explorers would be exposed during their travel to and stay on Mars.
“When you add up all those different contributions, you need to stay within your career limits,” he said. “So over time, we’re going to get those numbers. Since we’ve been on the surface, we have not yet seen a large solar flare or solar particle event like we saw during cruise (to Mars). When we do see one, that will be very interesting and very important.”