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Thursday, August 12, 2021

TRACKING WITH CLOSEUPS: Radiation Roulette: Solar Flares and Deep Space Missions

On August 4, 1972, an intense solar flare disabled spacecraft, interrupted radio communications on Earth, disrupted electrical power grid systems, and caused an intense aurora display. This was about mid-way between the Apollo 16 and 17 manned lunar missions. If the radiation from the flare had arrived while a crew was on the Moon, they would likely have received a lethal dose of radiation. If human spaceflight beyond the protection of Earth's magnetic field (which largely shields crews in low Earth orbit) becomes more common, protection against inevitable solar flares during missions will have to be provided.

Posted at August 12, 2021 11:02