Comparison of Martian surface ionizing radiation measurements from MSL-RAD with Badhwar-O'Neill 2011/HZETRN model calculations

Myung-Hee Y. Kim*, Francis A. Cucinotta, Hatem N. Nounu, Cary Zeitlin, Donald M. Hassler, Scot C.R. Rafkin, Robert F. Wimmer-Schweingruber, Bent Ehresmann, David E. Brinza, Stephan Böttcher, Eckart Böhm, Soenke Burmeister, Jingnan Guo, Jan Koehler, Cesar Martin, Guenther Reitz, Arik Posner, Javier Gómez-Elvira, Ari-Matti Harri, MSL Science Team

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Citations (Scopus)


Dose rate measurements from Mars Science Laboratory-radiation assessment detector (MSL-RAD) for 300 sols on Mars are compared to simulation results using the Badhwar-O'Neill 2011 galactic cosmic ray (GCR) environment model and the high-charge and energy transport (HZETRN) code. For the nuclear interactions of primary GCR through Mars atmosphere and Curiosity rover, the quantum multiple scattering theory of nuclear fragmentation is used. Daily atmospheric pressure is measured at Gale Crater by the MSL Rover Environmental Monitoring Station. Particles impinging on top of the Martian atmosphere reach RAD after traversing varying depths of atmosphere that depend on the slant angles, and the model accounts for shielding of the RAD “E” detector (used for dosimetry) by the rest of the instrument. Simulation of average dose rate is in good agreement with RAD measurements for the first 200 sols and reproduces the observed variation of surface dose rate with changing heliospheric conditions and atmospheric pressure. Model results agree less well between sols 200 and 300 due to subtleties in the changing heliospheric conditions. It also suggests that the average contributions of albedo particles (charge number Z < 3) from Martian regolith comprise about 10% and 42% of the average daily point dose and dose equivalent, respectively. Neutron contributions to tissue-averaged effective doses will be reduced compared to point dose equivalent estimates because a large portion of the neutron point dose is due to low-energy neutrons with energies 
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1311-1321
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research - Planets
Issue number6
Early online date17 Jun 2014
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2014


  • Galactic cosmic radiation
  • radiation transport
  • dose rate on Martian surface


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