Astronauts on the International Space Station may be at risk during long missions
THE WORSENING COSMIC RAY SITUATION: Cosmic rays are bad–and they’re getting worse. That’s the conclusion of a new paper just published in the research journal Space Weather. The authors, led by Prof. Nathan Schwadron of the University of New Hampshire, show that radiation from deep space is dangerous and intensifying faster than previously predicted.
A Cosmic Ray Shower in Earth’s atmosphere. Illustration Credit: Simon Swordy (U. Chicago),
The story begins four years ago when Schwadron and colleagues first sounded the alarm about cosmic rays. Analyzing data from the Cosmic Ray Telescope for the Effects of Radiation (CRaTER) instrument onboard NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO), they found that cosmic rays in the Earth-Moon system were peaking at levels never before seen in the Space Age. The worsening radiation environment, they pointed out, was a potential peril to astronauts, curtailing how long they could safely travel through space.
Read moreNASA: Cosmic rays hitting Earth are ‘bad and getting worse’