We finally know how much radiation there is on the moon, but that’s not good news

We finally know how much radiation there is on the moon, but that's not good news

One of the greatest dangers facing astronauts of the future as the United States prepares to return humanity to the moon over this decade is cosmic radiation that can cause lasting health effects from cataracts, including: cancer And neurodegenerative diseases.

The Apollo missions of the 1960s and 1970s proved it was safe for people to spend days on the lunar surface, but NASA did not perform daily radioactivity measurements to help scientists quantify how long crew members could stay.

This question was resolved on Friday after the China-German team published it in the journal. Scientific advancement Result of Experiment Performed by China’s Chang’E 4 lander in 2019.

“The moon’s radiation is two to three times higher than that at the International Space Station (ISS),” said Robert Wimmer-Schweingruber, astrophysicist at Kiel University.

“We are limiting our stay on the surface of the moon to about two months,” he added. At one time, I considered the radiation exposure that would result from a trip there for about a week.

Radiation exposure includes several sources of radiation exposure, including galactic cosmic rays, sporadic solar particle events (such as solar flares), and neutrons and gamma rays from interactions between spatial radiation and lunar soil.

Radiation is measured using the unit sievert, which quantifies the amount absorbed by human tissue.

The researchers found that the moon’s radiation exposure was 1,369 microsieverts per day, about 2.6 times higher than the daily dose of the crew of the International Space Station.

The reason is that the ISS is partially protected by Earth’s protective magnetic bubble called the magnetosphere, which reflects most of the radiation in space.

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The Earth’s atmosphere provides additional protection to humans on the ground, but the higher we are, the more we are exposed.

Wimmer-Schweingruber added, “The radiation levels we measured from the Moon are about 200 times higher than the Earth’s surface and 5 to 10 times higher than the plane going from New York to Frankfurt.”

NASA says it plans to bring humans to the moon by 2024 under its Artemis mission, and says it has a long-term plan of existence that includes astronauts working and living on the ground.

For Wimmer-Schweingruber, if you want humans to spend more than 2-3 months, there is one workaround. It is coated with 80 cm (30 inches) of lunar soil to create a habitat protected from radiation.

© Agence France-Presse

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