Mars Radiation Fine for Humans, Curiosity Finds
NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover has determined that radiation levels on the planet’s surface are safe for human explorers. “The astronauts can live in this environment,” Don Hassler, principal investigator on Curiosity’s Radiation Assessment Detector instrument (RAD), told a news conference. “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.”
Following Curiosity’s landing on Mars in August, the rover’s RAD device has measured radiation that’s comparable to what astronauts experience aboard the International Space Station. The robot explorer was also detecting radiation during its eight-month journey through space, and found levels were about double what they are on the planet.