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[i]"This will limit the amount of time astronauts can work safely in interplanetary space," says lead author Fatemeh Rahmanifard of the University of New Hampshire's Space Science Center.
Study co-author Nathan Schwadron, also of the University of New Hampshire, wonders if NASA should rethink its safety limits to allow longer voyages. "Or," he suggests, "maybe we should wait, and only conduct long-duration missions during Solar Maximum when galactic cosmic radiation falls to lower levels."
For astronauts, it begs the question — How much can you get done in 200 days? Barring improvements in shielding technology, future space missions may be limited to only 6 or 7 months, probably too short for a Mars voyage. Lunar exploration could be safer because the body of the Moon itself blocks radiation. But in interplanetary space, the researchers caution, "the next decade or two may be more dangerous than previously realized."[/i]
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