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Lunar base woud have to be underground, due to the danger of high radiation on the moon

After measuring radiation on the moon for the first time, scientists say a lunar base should be built underground to protect astronauts, Business Insider, AYLIN WOODWARD, SEP 30, 2020, 

  • NASA recently unveiled the plan for its Artemis program, a series of missions that would return astronauts to the moon.
  • A new study found how much radiation astronauts are exposed to on the lunar surface: a daily dose about 200 times as great as on Earth.
  • NASA wants to build a base on the moon, but the new data suggests it’d be safest to bury such a base under 2.5 feet of moon dirt to protect astronauts from radiation.
NASA wants to build a permanent base on the moon by the 2030s — a place astronauts could stay for extended visits at the lunar south pole.

But a new study found that any astronauts who go there would face levels of radiation nearly three times as high as what the astronauts on the space station deal with. Long-term exposure to enough of this cosmic radiation poses significant health risks, including cataracts, cancer, and diseases of the central nervous system.

The new research, published last week in the journal Science, calculated for the first time what a moonwalker’s daily dose of radiation would be.

“If you think about people staying on the moon for extended periods of time — say, on a scientific research station for a year or two — then these levels start getting problematic,” Robert Wimmer-Schweingruber, an author of the new study, told Business Insider.

The solution, he said, would be to build any lunar base beneath the moon’s surface.

“Covering your habitat with sufficient amounts of lunar dirt should do the trick,” Wimmer-Schweingruber said.

The first study to calculate radiation on the moon

Apollo astronauts carried radiation-measuring instruments on their missions in the 1960s and ’70s, but those dosimeters could tell scientists only the total amount of radiation the astronauts were exposed to throughout their time in space, from blasting off to landing, not just on the moon.

Wimmer-Schweingruber’s team was able to document daily radiation levels on the moon’s surface by analysing data collected by China’s Chang’e 4 spacecraft, which landed in January 2019………

Astronauts on the moon, meanwhile, face a daily radiation level five to 10 times as high as transatlantic fliers, since the moon doesn’t have the shield that Earth does.

So an astronaut on the lunar surface would be exposed to 1,369 microsieverts of radiation per day, about 200 times the daily level on Earth. ………..

October 1, 2020 - Posted by | 2 WORLD, health, space travel

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