Department Leads 2009 NASA Mars Lander Radiation Instrument

January 11, 2005

NASA has announced that Dr. Donald Hassler of SwRI's Department of Space Studies has been selected to lead the 2009 Mars science Laboratory (MSL) mission's radiation hazards investigation. This is the first SwRI instrument investigation selected to travel to the surface of a planet.

PI Hassler's instrument, called the Radiation Assessment Detector, or RAD, will characterize the broad spectrum of radiation at the Martian surface. The investigation will determine the radiation hazards faced by astronauts on Mars. Mr. John Andrews of the Department will serve as the RAD Project Manager; Drs. Scot Rafkin and Mark Bullock are involved in the science team. RAD will be built at SwRI's main base in San Antonio, Texas, where Dr. Arik Posner and additional members of the RAD team are located. The Mars Science Laboratory, scheduled for a 2009 launch, will operate under its own power for a service life of one Mars year (approximately two Earth years). The Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., manages MSL for the NASA's Science Mission Directorate.

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