Subscribe to our free daily newsletters
. 24/7 Space News .




Subscribe to our free daily newsletters



TECH SPACE
Active tracking of astronaut rad-exposures targeted
by Staff Writers
Paris (ESA) Jul 22, 2016


illustration only

Radiation is an invisible hazard of spaceflight, but a new monitoring system for ESA astronauts gives a realtime snapshot of their exposure. The results will guide researchers preparing for deep-space missions to come.

A key element of the new system launched to orbit with Monday's Falcon 9 launch to the International Space Station, ensuring it is in place for ESA astronaut Thomas Pesquet's November mission to the Station.

As a general rule, radiation exposure increases with altitude - people living on mountains receive more than those at sea level, while airline crews receive a small but noticeable additional dose.

Astronauts in orbit receive still more radiation - they are officially classed as radiation workers. The individual dose for the whole flight is carefully measured by keeping a dosimeter on their body, to keep their career exposure within safe limits.

"While sophisticated, these dosimeters are passive," explains Ulrich Straube, radiologist and flight surgeon at the European Astronaut Centre in Cologne, Germany.

"To gain a clearer picture of astronauts' radiation environment, we have developed an electronic dosimeter that can provide almost instantaneous information to its wearer, on their current radiation exposure and dynamics of their immediate environment."

"This new system is also sensitive enough to differentiate between different radiation types, including the high energies of cosmic radiation coming from far out in our Galaxy."

While some space radiation originates from the Sun - in the form of intense but short-lived 'solar particle events' - the real risk for future deep-space missions beyond the protection of Earth's magnetic shield comes from 'galactic cosmic radiation' that originates from beyond our Solar System, made up of high-energy, high-speed atomic nuclei spewed out by dying stars.

The very high energy of galactic cosmic radiation means they cannot be entirely shielded against. Anyway, thick shields might - counterintuitively - increase exposure, by producing showers of secondary particles.

"More data are definitely needed to help develop useful ways of reducing this risk," adds Dr Straube. "Traditional passive dosimeter measurements can only be read after the fact, back on Earth in a lab environment."

The new European Crew Personal Active Dosimeter - EuCPAD - comprises a wearable unit with a storage device for battery charging and data transfer - similar in purpose to a smartphone charging station, if much more sophisticated.

Last September, the system underwent its first real trial, when a mobile unit flew with ESA astronaut Andreas Mogensen on his mission to the Station.

The unit measured the radiation exposure from liftoff into orbit, the first time such realtime dosimetry has been measured. It went on to perform a series of monitoring tests aboard the Space Station.

As a next step, the storage device launched to the Station on Monday's Space-X Dragon flight will allow wearers to deliver data regularly to researchers on the ground.

Having more information about where or when radiation exposure occurs is an important benefit of the system. Knowing which Station modules provide the best shielding could be valuable in designing future deep-space spacecraft.

Follow-on tests are planned during upcoming European missions to the orbital complex, starting with Thomas Pesquet this November.


Thanks for being here;
We need your help. The SpaceDaily news network continues to grow but revenues have never been harder to maintain.

With the rise of Ad Blockers, and Facebook - our traditional revenue sources via quality network advertising continues to decline. And unlike so many other news sites, we don't have a paywall - with those annoying usernames and passwords.

Our news coverage takes time and effort to publish 365 days a year.

If you find our news sites informative and useful then please consider becoming a regular supporter or for now make a one off contribution.

SpaceDaily Contributor
$5 Billed Once


credit card or paypal
SpaceDaily Monthly Supporter
$5 Billed Monthly


paypal only

.


Related Links
Space Engineering and Technology at ESA
Space Technology News - Applications and Research






Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks
del.icio.usdel.icio.us DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle

Previous Report
TECH SPACE
Fallout Fungi From Chernobyl Flee Earth on ISS Radiation Study Mission
Moscow (Sputnik) Jul 19, 2016
Fungi found growing in the fallout from the world's worst nuclear disaster are to be sent into space. Samples from eight different types of fungi taken from the Chernobyl exclusion zone are ready for take-off to the International Space Station (ISS). Now these fungi are pretty special; after the Chernobyl nuclear disaster on April 26, 1986, when the reactor was struck by a power surge caus ... read more


TECH SPACE
SSTL and Goonhilly announce partnership and a call for lunar orbit payloads

Taiwan to make lunar lander for NASA moon-mining mission

Russian and US engineers plan manned moon mission

Asteroid that formed moon's Imbrium Basin may have been protoplanet-sized

TECH SPACE
NASA Selects Five Mars Orbiter Concept Studies

NASA's Viking Data Lives on, Inspires 40 Years Later

Opportunity Rover wrapping up work within Marathon Valley

Next Mars Rover Progresses Toward 2020 Launch

TECH SPACE
NASA Sails Full-Speed Ahead in Solar System Exploration

Disney theme park in Shanghai nears a million visitors

Sensor Technology Could Revolutionize What You Sleep On

Return to light for underground astronauts

TECH SPACE
China's second space lab Tiangong-2 reaches launch center

China commissions space tracking ship as new station readied

Dutch Radio Antenna to Depart for Moon on Chinese Mission

Chinese Space Garbageman is not a Weapon

TECH SPACE
Russia launches ISS-bound cargo ship

New Crew Members, Including NASA Biologist, Launch to Space Station

Russian New Soyuz-MS Spacecraft Docks With ISS for First Time

NASA Highlights Space Station Research Benefits, Opportunities at San Diego Conference

TECH SPACE
SpaceX cargo ship arrives at space station

SpaceX propels cargo to space station, lands rocket

Ukraine, US aim to launch jointly-developed space rocket

SpaceX to launch key 'parking spot' to space station

TECH SPACE
Surface Composition Determines Planet's Temperature and Habitability

Gemini Observatory Instrumental in Latest Exoplanet Harvest

First atmospheric study of Earth-sized exoplanets reveals rocky worlds

Warm Jupiters Not as Lonely as Expected

TECH SPACE
Fallout Fungi From Chernobyl Flee Earth on ISS Radiation Study Mission

3D printer helps scientists scale up nanostructures

Scientists move 1 step closer to creating an invisibility cloak

NASA to Begin Testing Next Generation of Spacecraft Heat Exchangers




Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News






The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2017 - 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. Privacy Statement