Look out for the Mars science laboratory launch on November 26, 2011. Curiosity, which is a Rover , will search for elements that are needed to support life which are mainly water and any carbon-based materials. This will give us a good indication of whether Mars was habitable or will be habitable in the future.
Curiosity will detect radiation for the first time, charged particles that arrive from space and neutrons and gamma rays coming from the atmosphere of Mars. An instrument called the radiation assessment detector or RAD will detect the radiation.
The other primary objective of RAD is to help plan for future human missions to Mars. It will determine the amount of radiation shielding that is required to keep any astronauts on the surface safe.
We are shielded on Earth from the most hazardous galactic cosmic rays and solar particle events by Earth’s magnetic field. In space any spacecraft going to Mars would be unprotected. RAD will monitor the radiation on the voyage to Mars so ways can be found to shield any humans that go. RAD will measure radiation levels in the main mission every 15 minutes of every hour.
Curiosity will take about nine months to reach Mars and then will collect data on Mars for about one year although the Rovers on Mars at the moment lasted for years past there estimated lifespan. Curiosity’s mission therefore could be extended to collect data for an entire solar cycle.