Curiosity Rover Acting as Stunt Double for Humans

Article written: 24 Feb , 2012
Updated: 11 Jan , 2016
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En route to the Red Planet, Mars rover Curiosity has experienced the strongest solar radiation storm since 2005. No need to be alarmed: Researchers say it’s all part of Curiosity’s job as a ‘stunt double’ for human astronauts.

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3 Responses

  1. Joel Raupe says

    Interestingly, too many worry over solar radiation, quite naturally, when the real danger to humans and equipment is less frequent but far more damaging cosmic ray bombardment. A half inch of titanium is sufficient to protect us from most solar radiation, even energetic storms, but it exacerbates the damage from high-energy cosmic rays, with secondary showers – like a hollow point bullet. This radiation is halved by the interplanetary magnetic field at solar max, meaning the more damaging flight to Mars would occur at solar minimum, which seems counter-intuitive but, nevertheless, is well established.

    Using present technology, at solar max or minima, a round-trip to Mars exceeds present NASA-set standards for astronauts, increasing that human’s lifetime probability of radiation-exposure-induced-death (REID) above 5 percent.

  2. Paul T Morrison says

    Is there a button I am missing for the transcript? Lots of cases where sound is an issue, no speakers, work, someone is sleeping nearby.

  3. Edward Richardson says

    The radiation hit in human terms (rems) is a glaring omission and it’s typical of NASA PR to present what they do as cute. Awww… our little robotic stunt double out there braving the radiation sea for us. It’s long been suspected that the radiation, cosmic rays, and coronal mass ejected protons are deal-breakers for a manned mission to Mars. This story could easily read MARS-BOUND ROVER TAKES RADIATION HIT EQUAL TO 200 CHERNOBYL MELTDOWNS or some such.

    And forget the journey. Years ago Mars Odyssey recorded two solar proton events hitting the red planet, one of which would’ve killed anyone in the storm that day, it was double the lethal dose all day long.

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