Victoria Crater on Mars
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Should astronauts risk their health for Mars mission?

1 June 2013 Last updated at 00:01 BST

Scientists have confirmed that astronauts sent on missions to Mars would have an increased risk of developing cancer because of high levels of radiation.

The findings came from a study by Nasa's unmanned Curiosity Rover mission which counted the number of high-energy space particles striking it on its eight-month journey to the planet.

The data suggested humans would experience radiation doses that go beyond what is currently deemed acceptable for a career astronaut.

Dr Kevin Fong, a former Nasa scientist and director of the Centre for Space Medicine at University College London, said a manned mission should not be ruled out but there would be "health penalties".

Rebecca Morelle reports.