The SR2S project, as you know, is focused on radiation protection for astronauts, but that is just one cog in the wheel in embarking on deep space missions. The BBC have enlisted the help of a team of scientists from Imperial College London to discuss and design a mission to send astronauts to Mars, our nearest neighbour, some 56 million km away. They even discuss the issue of radiation protection for the astronauts whilst travelling to the Red Planet.
The interactive piece is broken down into the following sections …
- The mission
- The spacecraft
- Surviving the trip
- Exploring Mars
- Getting back
Of specific relevance to those interested in the SR2S project is the section on "Surviving the trip" which includes a video on "The radiation threat".
In this video, at about 2'30" in, Martin Archer describes one theoretical approach to protecting humans from the radiation levels to which they would be exposed to as a result of coronal mass ejections and galactic cosmic rays. The theory is based on the natural magnetic shield that exists around Earth - the magnetosphere. Explaining that the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) in CERN, a partner in the SR2S project, has superconducting magnets to keep energetic particles inside the collider, the same principle could be applied on a Mars mission to keep energetic particles away from us.
The interactive piece, with videos, can be found here.