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C. Zeitlin (National Space Biomedical Research Institute), F. A. Cucinotta, T. F. Cleghorn, P. Saganti (NASA Johnson Space Center), L. S. Pinsky, K. T. Lee (University of Houston, Department of Physics), W. A. Atwell (Boeing Company)
The Martian Radiation Environment Experiment (MARIE) is designed to measure charged particle radiation in Mars orbit as a precursor to possible human exploration. Charged nuclear particles originating from galactic sources (the Galactic Cosmic Rays, or GCR) are known to pose a health risk from chronic exposures, which will be inevitable during transit and during prolonged stays on the Martian surface. Solar energetic particles (SEP) are an additional source of risk, which can be acute during high-intensity solar events.
Astronauts in low-earth orbit receive considerable protection against charged particles from the geomagnetosphere, which deflects many particles towards the poles. Because Mars lacks a strong magnetic field, astronauts in orbit or on the surface will not be comparably protected.
MARIE is designed to measure a wide spectrum of particles, from the high-energy heavy ions that comprise the GCR to the low-energy protons (with 10's of MeV of kinetic energy) prevalent among SEP. MARIE provides a new observation point for SEP, and comparison to sensors in near-Earth orbit may shed light on fundamental issues in solar physics. We will present an overview of MARIE's measurement capabilities, as well as initial charged-particle dose-rate data, which will be compared to predictions of current models of the GCR.
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Bulletin of the American Astronomical Society, 34, #3< br> © 2002. The American Astronomical Soceity.