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Solar flares/CMEs striking Mars

  1. Dec 8, 2015 #1

    I've not seen "The Martian" yet, but I have followed some of the online comments about the supposed radiation levels the film's protagonist would experience whilst stranded on Mars. By "radiation", I assume this to comprise of the solar wind and cosmic rays, both of which, I gather - aside from the occasional GRB event - bombard the surface of Mars at a rate averaging around 30 mSv per hour during a typical solar minimum. To date, however, I can find nothing that describes what the radiation levels would be were a truly powerful – i.e. X-class – solar flare, to strike the Martian surface. I ask this question because as a result of all the talk about lengthy manned explorations of Mars planned for the 2030s, I do wonder what sort of additional protection (if any?) would be needed to shield astronauts from such solar outbursts.

  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 8, 2015 #2
    Radiation is just one problem.

    The martial soil contains perchlorate, which is poisonous as well. Dealing with keeping that out of the habitats will be a challenge.
  4. Dec 9, 2015 #3
    Yes, about the calcium perchlorite: I did read somewhere a little while back about researchers having discovered a variety of bacteria that can (or else has the potential to) break down this metallic salt into its constituent components. In doing so it releases oxygen into the air - an added boon in the Martian context. Nonetheless, the process is not as straightforward as I've suggested. More work apparently needs to be done before this method is deemed viable. Still, watch this space, as they say. I can't find the website off the top of my head right now. But I do recall it originating from microbeworld.org.
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