Scientists have figured out when to plan manned missions to Mars.
Skoltech graduate student Mikhail Dobynda and his colleagues from the United States and Germany decided to find out the optimal date for launching a rocket to Mars. Space weather can seriously affect flight, so the authors of the new work decided to adapt to it and find the optimal interval for a flight to the Red Planet.
At the same time, it is possible to shield the ship from external influences only within reasonable limits, otherwise, the mass of the starship will increase so much that its launch becomes economically impossible.
Also, constant solar radiation can become another problem – it will affect the astronauts during the entire flight. Therefore, you need to track solar activity and also try to reduce its negative effect to a minimum.
As paradoxical as it sounds, flying to Mars during the peak of solar activity is not such a bad idea. The fact is that charged solar particles, from which it is enough to simply shield the ship, have a beneficial effect: they are able to attenuate much more dangerous galactic radiation.
We managed to find the optimal combination of the spacecraft protection level and the launch period at which the longest flight will be possible. According to our calculations, the best start time for manned missions to Mars is the period of solar activity decline. With an optimal level of protection using 10 centimeters thick aluminum screens, the flight duration can be up to four years without exceeding radiation safety standards. The next peak of solar activity is expected soon enough, in 2025, so that the conquerors of Mars, apparently, will have to wait until the mid-2030s.
Mikhail Dobynd, the first author of the study