When it comes to deep space travel, we believe the answer to sufficient protection – on top of the standard shielding of a spacecraft and a water tank around the astronaut’s cabin – is to travel faster through space so astronauts are exposed for a shorter length of time. This relies heavily on our advancement of propulsion systems.
According to measurements from the Mars Science Laboratory, which it took during its 253-day journey to the Red Planet, the amount of radiation – in the form of deadly cosmic rays and energetic solar particles – that would be accumulated by the human body is the equivalent to getting a whole computerised tomography, or CT scan, once every five or six days. From this, scientists believe that a ‘storm shelter’ fixed to the craft would assist with stopping particles from the Sun during a low solar cycle, but, cosmic rays have such high energy that they could easily seep through a chunk of aluminium just 0.3 metres (one foot) thick!
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