For the first time, scientists say they have learned how radioactive the moon is – a finding that could have implications for the future of human space travel there.
The new data, collected by China’s Chang’e 4 rover, shows much more radiation than we would face on Earth or even on the International Space Station. But it is likely that a level at which a certain exposure, for the limited duration of a trip to the moon, could still be safe.
Experts say they made a discovery of 1,369 radiation microsieverts, published data in the journal Science Advances.
That could be a problem for future missions to the moon
“The radiation levels we measured on the moon are about 200 times higher than the Earth’s surface and 5 to 10 times higher than on a flight from New York to Frankfurt,” said Robert Wimmer. -Schweingruber, physicist at the University of Kiel, on research in a statement.
“Because astronauts would be more exposed to these levels of radiation than passengers or pilots on transatlantic flights, this is a considerable exposure,” he added.
Although CNN reports that Apollo astronauts brought equipment to measure the level of radiation from the Moon, the data never returned to Earth. Now, however, as NASA plans its Artemis missions to send astronauts back to the moon, it is very important to know what future astronauts will face when they return.
Thus, when the next astronaut to reach the moon will step on the lunar surface in 2024, he will face radiation levels 200 times higher than on Earth. Radiation exposure is one of the major health risks for astronauts, as chronic exposure to galactic cosmic rays (GCR) can induce cataracts, cancer or degenerative diseases of the central nervous system or other organ systems, the study said.