Radiation climate map for analyzing risks to astronauts on the mars surface from galactic cosmic rays

Research paper by Premkumar B. Saganti, Francis A. Cucinotta, John W. Wilson, Lisa C. Simonsen, Cary Zeitlin

Indexed on: 01 Jan '04Published on: 01 Jan '04Published in: Space science reviews


The potential risks for late effects including cancer, cataracts, and neurological disorders due to exposures to the galactic cosmic rays (GCR) is a large concern for the human exploration of Mars. Physical models are needed to project the radiation exposures to be received by astronauts in transit to Mars and on the Mars surface, including the understanding of the modification of the GCR by the Martian atmosphere and identifying shielding optimization approaches. The Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) mission has been collecting Martian surface topographical data with the Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter (MOLA). Here we present calculations of radiation climate maps of the surface of Mars using the MOLA data, the radiation transport model HZETRN (high charge and high energy transport), and the quantum multiple scattering fragmentation model, QMSFRG. Organ doses and the average number of particle hits per cell nucleus from GCR components (protons, heavy ions, and neutrons) are evaluated as a function of the altitude on the Martian surface. Approaches to improve the accuracy of the radiation climate map, presented here using data from the 2001 Mars Odyssey mission, are discussed.