Volume 91 Issue 26 | pp. 23-24
Issue Date: July 1, 2013

Inventing Materials For Safe Mars Trip

Radiation exposure emphasizes need to protect astronauts and pushes scientists to develop new materials
By Eric Niiler
Department: Science & Technology
Keywords: Mars, fusion, rocket, astronauts, NASA, radiation, cancer, cosmic rays, space

As the Mars Curiosity spacecraft journeyed from Earth to Mars in 2011 and 2012, it picked something up along the way: dangerous levels of radiation. The findings made the prospect of a human journey to the Red Planet seem incredibly risky. But the discovery also could boost ongoing efforts to develop protective materials and faster engines to protect astronauts from radiation on possible future Mars missions.

The results, disclosed in May, indicate that an astronaut . . .

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Eric Niiler is a freelance journalist in Washington, D.C., specializing in science, public policy, and medical topics.

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