Methodology assessment and recommendations for the Mars science laboratory launch safety analysis.
Methodology assessment and recommendations for the Mars science laboratory launch safety analysis. The Department of Energy has assigned to Sandia National Laboratories the responsibility of producing a Safety Analysis Report (SAR) for the plutonium-dioxide fueled Multi-Mission Radioisotope Thermoelectric Generator (MMRTG) proposed to be used in the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) mission. The National Aeronautic and Space Administration (NASA) is anticipating a launch in fall of 2009, and the SAR will play a critical role in the launch approval process. As in past safety evaluations of MMRTG missions, a wide range of potential accident conditions differing widely in probability and seventy must be considered, and the resulting risk to the public will be presented in the form of probability distribution functions of health effects in terms of latent cancer fatalities. The basic descriptions of accident cases will be provided by NASA in the MSL SAR Databook for the mission, and on the basis of these descriptions, Sandia will apply a variety of sophisticated computational simulation tools to evaluate the potential release of plutonium dioxide, its transport to human populations, and the consequent health effects. The first step in carrying out this project is to evaluate the existing computational analysis tools (computer codes) for suitability to the analysis and, when appropriate, to identify areas more »
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