New measurements show dangerous levels of radiation on the moon

Scientists said future lunar explorers would be exposed to two to three times more radiation than astronauts aboard the International Space Station, posing a health hazard that would require thick-walled shelters to protect.

The study notes that China’s lander on the far side of the moon provided the first complete measurements of radiative forcing from the lunar surface, which is important information for NASA and other organizations seeking to send astronauts to the moon.

The Sino-German team reported radiation data collected by the lander, named Chang’e 4 after the Chinese moon goddess, in the American journal Science Advances.

“This is a huge achievement in the sense that we now have a dataset that we can use to compare our radiation,” and better understand the potential risk to humans on the Moon, said Thomas Berger, a physicist at the German Space Agency’s Medical Institute. …

Robert Wimmer-Schweingruber of the Christian Albrecht University in Kiel, Germany, noted that astronauts will receive 200-1000 times more radiation on the Moon than what we experience on Earth, or 5-10 times more than passengers on a transatlantic flight.

“The difference, however, is that we are not on such a flight as long as the astronauts when they explore the moon,” Wimmer-Schweingruber said in an email.

“Humans are not really made for these levels of radiation and have to defend themselves on the moon,” he added.

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