France Media AgencySeptember 28, 2020 10:50:29 am
As America prepares to deport humans back to the moon this decade, one of the biggest dangers facing astronauts in the future is space radiation, which can have lasting health effects ranging from cataracts to cancer and neurodegenerative diseases.
Although the Apollo missions of the 1960s and 1970s proved that it was safe for people to spend a few days on the lunar surface, NASA did not take daily radiation measurements, which helped scientists calculate how long the crew could stay.
The question was resolved on Friday after the China-German team published it in the journal Advances in science One results Launch by China’s Chang’e4 lander In 2019.
“The moon’s radiation is two to three times higher than you would be on the ISS (International Space Station),” co-author Robert Wimmer-Schweinzgruber, an astrophysicist at Kiel University, told AFP.
“Thereby limiting your stay on the lunar surface to about two months,” he said, taking into account radiation exposure from a week-long journey there, and a week ago.
There are many sources of radiation exposure: galactic cosmic rays, scattered solar particle events (e.g. from solar flares), and neutrons and gamma rays from interactions between space radiation and the lunar surface.
The radiation unit is measured using Sievert, which estimates the amount absorbed by human tissues.
The team found that radiation exposure to the moon was 1,369 microseconds per day – 2.6 times the daily dose by the International Space Station staff.
This is because the ISS is still partially protected by the Earth’s protective magnetic bubble, known as the magnetosphere, which dissipates most of the radiation from space.
Earth’s atmosphere provides extra protection for humans on the surface, but we are more exposed as we go.
“The radiation levels we measured on the moon were 200 times higher than the Earth’s surface and five to 10 times higher than the plane from New York to Frankfurt,” Wimmer-Schweinberger said.
NASA plans to bring humans to the moon by 2024 under the Artemis mission and says it has a long-term presence where astronauts work and live on the surface.
For Wimmer-Schweingruber, if we want humans to spend more than two or three months, there is one task: to build habitats protected from radiation by coating 80 cm (30 inches) with lunar soil.