Lt. Heidi Beemer conducts a Mars tunneling assessment at the Mars Desert Research Station near Hanksville, Utah in 2011.
Exploration

Tunnels on Mars Might Protect Astronauts From Dangerous Levels of Radiation

Researchers working in the Utah desert experiment with methods for determining if Martian rock formations are suitable for tunneling.

Published On 08/30/2017
12:00 PM EDT
T T he first humans on Mars will face a dangerous and harsh environment, particularly the Red Planet’s high levels of radiation. The Mars Curiosity rover estimated that during travel to and from the Red Planet, along with a 500-day stay on the planet, an astronaut would endure a 1 Sievert dose of radiation, an amount that is estimated to increase a person’s lifetime cancer risk by 5 percent. NASA allows only a 3 percent increase in cancer risk among its astronauts.