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June 5 2013

Manned Mars Missions Will Need Superfast New Propulsion Systems to Beat Radiation Threat

To keep astronauts safe and healthy during future missions to Mars, superfast new propulsion technologies will likely be necessary, experts say.

Crewmembers flying to Mars and back using traditional chemical thrusters would be exposed to the high radiation levels of deep space for 12 to 17 months. That's simply too long to keep astronauts' radiation doses from fast-moving particles known as galactic cosmic rays within currently acceptable limits, researchers said.

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