The most powerful solar flare could kill astronauts




Lawrence Townsend (Lawrence Townsend) and his colleagues at the University of Tennessee (University of Tennessee) calculated the radiation exposure of the most powerful (we know of) solar flare that occurred nearly 150 years ago to find out — what can basically encounter people in space flights .

Scientists are able to directly measure the radiation caused by solar flares, only the last 40 years. To find out how strong, in principle, be the effects of solar flares — the scientists multiply the power of today's biggest two.

Townsend also went the other way. He found the earth "traces" left by a powerful solar flare in 1859, has left a record of the British astronomer Richard Carrington (Richard Carrington).

Apparently it is noticeably superior to the flash output in 1989, which, for example, has led to the shutdown of the power supply of Quebec.

The American scientist measured the content of certain substances and isotopes (eg, beryllium-10) in the Greenland ice cores taken from a depth corresponding to the year flash.

These isotopes were produced in the upper atmosphere by radiation and dropping down hit the ice.

The measurements showed that during that outbreak atmosphere was bombarded by twenty billions of high-energy protons per square centimeter.

If at this point in space near the Earth was the ship, its inhabitants, protected by a few centimeters of aluminum (which is typical for the design of the spacecraft) would receive a dose of radiation, which would lead to acute radiation bolezi, possibly with fatal consequences.

It should be noted that the composition of the international space station modules is protected well enough to save its inhabitants, even from such radiation. This whole issue is the timely detection of outbreaks and preventing crew.

But the design of new ships, especially designed for missions to Mars or the Moon, engineers need to consider the possibility, and there are very rare and super-flares.

This study, the authors believe it should spur interest in the widespread use of new construction materials such as polyethylene, carbon foam with a hydrogen-filled pores, and other materials that provide good protection from cosmic radiation.


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