by Staff Writers
Berlin, Germany (SPX) Sep 29, 2020
The Chang'e-4 lunar lander touched down on the far side of the Moon on 3 January 2019, with a German instrument for measuring space radiation on board. Since then, the Lunar Lander Neutron and Dosimetry (LND) instrument has been measuring temporally resolved cosmic radiation for the first time. Earlier devices could only record the entire 'mission dose'.
In its current issue, the scientific journal Science Advances reports on the work of the international group of scientists involved with the LND, including researchers from the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum fur Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR). Their investigations have involved more precise radiation measurements on the Moon.
"Over the coming years and decades, various nations are planning to send crewed missions to explore the Moon. Space radiation poses a significant risk to the health of humans. The Apollo astronauts carried radiation measuring devices, referred to as dosimeters, on their bodies. But these only determined the radiation exposure over the course of the entire mission," says Oliver Angerer, LND Project Manager at the DLR Space Administration.
With the LND instrument it is possible to measure the various characteristics of the radiation field over time intervals of one, 10 or 60 minutes. This enables researchers to calculate the 'equivalent dose', which is important for estimating biological effects.
High radiation exposure in a spacesuit
For comparison, during a long-haul flight from Frankfurt to New York, the dose rate is five to 10 times lower than this. On Earth's surface, it is some 200 times lower. In other words, a long-term stay on the Moon will expose astronauts' bodies to high doses of radiation."
"Human bodies are simply not made to be exposed to space radiation," adds Robert Wimmer-Schweingruber of the Christian-Albrecht University (CAU) in Kiel, whose team developed and built the LND instrument . "On longer missions to the Moon, astronauts will have to protect themselves from it - by covering their habitat with a thick layer of lunar rock, for example. This could reduce the risk of cancer and other illnesses caused by long periods of time spent on the Moon."
The instrument developed in Kiel conducts measurements throughout the lunar day, but like all other scientific devices on the lander, remains switched off throughout the extremely cold, approximately two-week lunar night, to save power. The instrument and lander were designed to conduct their measurements for at least one year - a target they have already surpassed. The data from the LND and the lander are transmitted to Earth via the relay satellite Queqiao ('Magpie Bridge'), which is located above the far side of the Moon.
Astronautical space exploration on the Moon and beyond
"With that in mind, the LND measurements are also used to develop computer models to calculate the expected radiation exposure, refine our models and thus contribute towards our work on radiation protection for astronauts on future missions. It is vital that the detector also allows conclusions to be drawn about the composition of the radiation field, such as how many neutrons and high energy-charged particles are present," explains Berger.
Radiation levels on Moon 2.6 times greater than ISS: study
Washington (AFP) Sept 25, 2020
As the US prepares to return humans to the Moon this decade, one of the biggest dangers future astronauts will face is space radiation that can cause lasting health effects, from cataracts to cancer and neurodegenerative diseases. Though the Apollo missions of the 1960s and 1970s proved it was safe for people to spend a few days on the lunar surface, NASA did not take daily radiation measurements that would help scientists quantify just how long crews could stay. This question was resolved Frida ... read more
|The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2021 - Space Media Network. All websites are published in Australia and are solely subject to Australian law and governed by Fair Use principals for news reporting and research purposes. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA news reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. All articles labeled "by Staff Writers" include reports supplied to Space Media Network by industry news wires, PR agencies, corporate press officers and the like. Such articles are individually curated and edited by Space Media Network staff on the basis of the report's information value to our industry and professional readership. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) Statement Our advertisers use various cookies and the like to deliver the best ad banner available at one time. All network advertising suppliers have GDPR policies (Legitimate Interest) that conform with EU regulations for data collection. By using our websites you consent to cookie based advertising. If you do not agree with this then you must stop using the websites from May 25, 2018. Privacy Statement. Additional information can be found here at About Us.|