A primary function of the MSL is to determine the habitability of Mars for future crews. The purpose of the RAD is to measure the levels of radiation coming from space to the Martian surface and to measure radiation emitted from the surface soil and rocks. The RAD will be able to measure protons, ions of certain elements, gamma rays and neutrons, measured by a series of thin silicon detectors. The data collected from this instrument will allow scientists to measure the radiation dose both instantaneously and over a period of time to determine if it is within the limits humans can absorb without physical consequences. A key concern in long-term space exploration is the exposure to radiation. The RAD is one of the lightest-weight instruments and will have one of the lowest power consumption levels on the MSL.
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