02.08.2017 Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter Observes Changes
01.26.2017 Mono Lake
01.25.2017 'Wing' Dike of Hardened Lava in New Mexico
01.25.2017 Blade-Like Martian Walls Outline Polygons
01.23.2017 Spirit And Opportunity By The Numbers
01.10.2017 Mars 2020 Rover - Artist's Concept
01.06.2017 Earth and Its Moon, as Seen From Mars
12.13.2016 Now and Long Ago at Gale Crater, Mars
12.13.2016 Where's Boron? Mars Rover Detects It
11.15.2016 Schiaparelli Impact Site on Mars, Stereo
11.03.2016 Schiaparelli Impact Site on Mars, in Color
10.17.2016 MAVEN Captures Rapid Cloud Formation
10.17.2016 Mars' Nightside Atmosphere
10.17.2016 Ultraviolet Image Near Mars' South Pole
10.17.2016 Ultraviolet Mars Reveals Cloud Formation
10.05.2016 Dust Haze Hiding the Martian Surface in 2001
10.04.2016 Test of Lander Vision System for Mars 2020
10.03.2016 A Sharpened Ultraviolet View of Mars
10.03.2016 Curiosity Self-Portrait at 'Murray Buttes'
10.03.2016 Butte 'M9a' in 'Murray Buttes' on Mars
09.19.2016 Ribbon Cutting
09.09.2016 Farewell to Murray Buttes (Image 5)
09.09.2016 Farewell to Murray Buttes (Image 4)
09.09.2016 Farewell to Murray Buttes (Image 3)
09.09.2016 Farewell to Murray Buttes (Image 2)
09.09.2016 Farewell to Murray Buttes (Image 1)
08.26.2016 Out-of-this-World Records
08.04.2016 Mars Rover Is New Social Media Game
08.04.2016 Mars Rover Social Media Game
08.02.2016 Artist Concept for RIMFAX
07.20.2016 Viking 40 Year Anniversary Artwork: Medal
07.18.2016 Mars 2020 Range Trigger
07.14.2016 NASA to Launch Mars Rover in 2020
Sources of Ionizing Radiation in Interplanetary SpaceThe Radiation Assessment Detector (RAD) on NASA's Curiosity Mars rover monitors high-energy atomic and subatomic particles coming from the sun, distant supernovae and other sources. RAD measured the flux of this energetic-particle radiation while shielded inside the Mars Science Laboratory spacecraft on the flight delivering Curiosity from Earth to Mars, and continues to monitor the flux on the surface of Mars.
This illustration depicts the two main types of radiation that RAD monitors, and how the magnetic field around Earth affects the radiation in space near Earth.
Galactic cosmic rays are a variable shower of charged particles coming from supernova explosions and other events extremely far from our solar system. The sun is the other main source of energetic particles this investigation detects and characterizes. The sun spews electrons, protons and heavier ions in "solar particle events" fed by solar flares and ejections of matter from the sun's corona.
The spacecraft carrying RAD departed the influence of Earth's magnetic field early during the flight from Earth to Mars. Earth's magnetic field and atmosphere provide effective shielding against the possible deadly effects of galactic cosmic rays and solar particle events. Mars lacks a global magnetic field and has only about 1 percent as much atmosphere as Earth does.
Data from RAD during the trip to Mars and on the surface of Mars provide important aid to planning for astronaut safety in design of possible human missions to Mars.
Southwest Research Institute, in San Antonio, Texas, and Boulder, Colo., supplied and operates the RAD instrument in collaboration with Germany's national aerospace research center, Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt. NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, manages the Mars Science Laboratory Project and the mission's Curiosity rover for NASA's Science Mission Directorate in Washington.
Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI