Thursday, May 14, 2015

Battling solares flares on Mars

An incredible burst of energy and particles
Work on solar flares could prove important for future missions to Mars that might eventually be part of a plan outlined by President Bush in 2004. On Earth, solar flares have been known to damage or skew results from satellites such as those making up the Global Positioning System (GPS).
"If humans go to Mars and have a similar positioning system there, knowing about ionosphere effects will be important," Withers said.

While solar flare radiation is typically not dangerous to humans if they are are at Earth's surface or have proper protection, the flares can be followed by streams of high-speed particles called protons. These "proton storms" are potentially lethal to astronauts and have been known to reach Earth in as little as 15 minutes.

Solar flares can also fuel giant clouds of electrified gas, called coronal mass ejections, which can billow into the solar system and overtake Earth in a matter of hours or days.

Mars rover Curiosity had to be put on standby due to a mid strength Solar flare

These two space phenomena are harder to shield against and can be dangerous to astronauts. On Jan. 20, 2005, the International Space Station was struck by a proton storm so powerful that its crew had to take shelter in the bulkier Russian side of the station, in a section designed with such storms in mind.

Solar flares and radiation are a key concern for interplanetary travel and settlement
Also, radiation from solar flares, combined with the normal doses of radiation that astronauts are routinely exposed to while in space, could put astronauts over the estimated limit as outlined under NASA guidelines.

Unlike Earth, which has a strong magnetic field and a dense atmosphere to deflect most solar flare radiation, Mars is relatively naked to space weather.

For more technical reading and info:

No comments:

Post a Comment