Advertisement

The European Physical Journal D

, Volume 60, Issue 1, pp 215–218 | Cite as

Impact of rocket propulsion technology on the radiation risk in missions to Mars

  • M. DuranteEmail author
  • C. BrunoEmail author
Topical issue on Molecular level assessments of radiation biodamage

Abstract

Exposure to cosmic radiation is today acknowledged as a major obstacle to human missions to Mars. In fact, in addition to the poor knowledge on the late effects of heavy ions in the cosmic rays, simple countermeasures are apparently not available. Shielding is indeed very problematic in space, because of mass problems and the high-energy of the cosmic rays, and radio-protective drugs or dietary supplements are not effective. However, the simplest countermeasure for reducing radiation risk is to shorten the duration time, particularly the transit time to Mars, where the dose rate is higher than on the planet surface. Here we show that using nuclear electric propulsion (NEP) rockets, the transit time could be substantially reduced to a point where radiation risk could be considered acceptable even with the current uncertainty on late effects.

Keywords

Solar Minimum Solar Maximum Cosmic Radiation Radiation Risk Solar Particle Event 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. 1.
    D.G. Boden, in Space Mission Analysis and Design, edited by W.J. Larson, J.R. Wertz, 2nd edn. (Kluwer Academic Publishers, 1992), pp. 144–148 Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    F.A. Cucinotta, M. Durante, Lancet Oncol. 7, 431 (2006) CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    M. Durante, F.A. Cucinotta, Nat. Rev. Cancer 8, 465 (2008) CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    P. Spillantini, M. Casolino, M. Durante, R. Mueller-Mellin, G. Reitz, L. Rossi, V. Shurshakov, M. Sorbi, Radiat. Meas. 42, 14 (2007) CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    P.A. Czysz, C. Bruno, Future Spacecraft Propulsion Systems (Praxis-Springer, London, 2009), Chap. 7 Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    C. Bruno, in Nuclear Space Power and Propulsion Systems, edited by C. Bruno, AIAA Progress in Astronautics and Aeronautics Series (AIAA, Reston, VA, 2008), Vol. 225, Chap. 1 Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    D.G. Fearn, in Nuclear Space Power and Propulsion Systems, edited by C. Bruno, AIAA Progress in Astronautics and Aeronautics Series (AIAA, Reston, VA, 2008), Vol. 225, Chap. 3 Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    F. Ferraro, R. D’Elia, S. Paternostro, A. Simonetti, C. Bruno, Acta Astronautica (to be published) Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    ESA, HUMEX Study in the Survivability and Adaptation of Humans to Long Duration Exploratory Missions (ESA-ESTEC SP-1264, Nordwijk, The Netherlands, 2003) Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    UNSCEAR, Sources and effects of ionizing radiation: exposures from natural radiation sources (UNSCEAR Report, 2000), Vol. I, Annex B Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    NCRP, Radiation protection guidance for activities in low-Earth orbit, NCRP Report No. 132 (National Council on Radiation Protection and Measurements, Bethesda, 2000) Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    NCRP, Information needed to make radiation protection recommendations for space missions beyond low-Earth orbit, NCRP Report No. 153 (National Council on Radiation Protection and Measurements, Bethesda 2006) Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    A.M. Kellerer, Radiat. Environ. Biophys. 39, 17 (2000) CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    M. Durante, Int. J. Mod. Phys. A 17, 1713 (2002) CrossRefADSGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    E.N. Parker, Sci. Am. 294, 40 (2006) CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© EDP Sciences, SIF, Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Biophysics DepartmentGSI Helmholtzzentrum für SchwerionenforschungDarmstadtGermany
  2. 2.Department of Condensed Matter PhysicsTechnical University of DarmstadtDarmstadtGermany
  3. 3.Dipartimento di Meccanica e AeronauticaUniversita’ “La Sapienza”RomaItaly

Personalised recommendations