January 27, 2012
The largest solar particle event since 2005 has been detected by the radiation-
monitoring instrument aboard the Mars Science Laboratory spacecraft, on its way from
Earth to Mars.
The Radiation Assessment Detector, inside the mission's Curiosity rover tucked inside the spacecraft, is measuring the radiation exposure that could affect a human astronaut on a potential Mars mission. It has measured an increase resulting from a Jan. 22 solar storm observed by other NASA spacecraft. No harmful effects to the Mars Science Laboratory have been detected from this solar event.
For more information about what effects the radiation detector has measured, visit: http://www.swri.org/9what/releases/2012/rad-solarstorm.htm .
Guy Webster 818-687-7708
Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.