Source: NASA

Authors: Naomi Hartono, Jet Propulsion Laboratory

Published Date: Mon, 29 Apr 2024 16:53:42 +0000

Summary: This year, NASA’s MAVEN and Curiosity rover will have a unique opportunity to study the effects of solar maximum on Mars, as the Sun enters a period of peak activity. During solar maximum, solar flares and coronal mass ejections increase, launching radiation into space. Mars, lacking a global magnetic field, is more exposed to these solar events, and researchers aim to understand the radiation levels that future astronauts might face. MAVEN observes radiation from above Mars, while Curiosity’s Radiation Assessment Detector (RAD) measures how much reaches the surface. The collaboration between MAVEN and Curiosity will help determine necessary radiation protection for astronauts. Additionally, studying solar maximum may reveal insights into Mars’ transformation from a warm, wet planet to a dry, cold desert. Understanding this process is crucial for future Mars missions and long-term exploration plans.

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