Cosmic ray ionization and dose at Mars: Benchmarking deterministic and Monte Carlo methods

Monday, 15 December 2014
Ryan B Norman1, Guillaume Gronoff1 and Christopher J Mertens2, (1)NASA Langley Research Center, Hampton, VA, United States, (2)NASA Langley Research Ctr, Hampton, VA, United States
The ability to evaluate the cosmic ray environment at Mars is of interest for future manned exploration. To support exploration, tools must be developed to accurately access the radiation environment in both free space and on planetary surfaces. The primary tool NASA uses to quantify radiation exposure behind shielding materials is the space radiation transport code, HZETRN. In order to build confidence in HZETRN, code benchmarking against Monte Carlo radiation transport codes is often used. This work compares the dose calculations at Mars by HZETRN and the GEANT4 application, Planetocosmics. The dose at ground and the energy deposited in the atmosphere by galactic cosmic ray protons and alpha particles has been calculated for the Curiosity landing conditions. In addition, this work has considered Solar Energetic Particle events, which allows for a better understanding of the spectral form in the comparison. The results for protons and alpha particles show very good agreement between HZETRN and Planetocosmics.