Astronauts face radiation threat on long Mars trip

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LOS ANGELES (AP) -- New research finds astronauts traveling to and from Mars would be bombarded with a lot of cosmic radiation.

Using the radiation sensor aboard the NASA rover Curiosity, scientists estimated that a round-trip voyage would expose astronauts to about 662 millisieverts. That's similar to getting a full-body CT scan every five or six days for a year.

As plans for deep space exploration ramp up, radiation is a big concern. NASA aims to send a crew to orbit the red planet by the mid-2030s and private outfits are seeking volunteers for a Mars flight.

The latest finding, appearing in Friday's issue of the journal Science, only includes radiation exposure on a Mars flight. It doesn't include time spent on the Martian surface.

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