Awareness Science Travel

‘Radiation Clouds’ Could Hit Air Travellers Harder Than Previously Known, NASA Finds

Are you a frequent flyer? Travelling for work, taking vacations, availing weekend trips! Then, it is really pertinent that you read on!

In accordance with the latest in research if the travelers are exposed to the mystical clouds also known as radiation clouds, it portrays damage to their health. Almost 7.4 micrograms of radiation is what travelers are exposed to.

Undoubtedly, the high exposure ionizing radiation has the ability to cause a plethora of health related issues, like that causing cancer or ensuring reproductive issues.

Here are some significant pointers:

– For the regular travelers the overall risk of high-altitude radiation is very low.

– Understand it like this, the amount of radiation you are exposed to during a chest X ray, is the same you will get when you are in a flight across the US. However, when you are flying through a radiation cloud, it would imply double the exposure. That’s not good!

– Now, it is the space weather conditions which fabricate the radiation clouds, hence its impact on frequent flyers or air crew is really bad. So, there is more radiation exposure to the North Pacific and North Atlantic routes as compared to the exposure you would get due to Galactic Cosmic rays.


Who discovered these clouds?

The researchers from the Automated Radiation Measurements for Aerospace Safety (ARMAS), which is also a NASA-supported program, discovered these radiation clouds.

Cosmic rays which reach the Earth’s atmosphere, fabricate a range of particles. These particles include protons, electrons, X-rays and even the Gamma rays. These have the capability to penetrate the aircraft. A frequent flyer which travels almost 1000 mile absorbs the radiation equivalent to 20 chest x rays.


What are cosmic rays?

The cosmic rays have been mentioned in astrophysics. It is the source of ultra-high-energy particles from space, which hit Earth. They are immensely energetic. The cosmic rays strike the atmosphere and result in a shower of particles. These particles are mostly muons, photons and electrons.

Does the rate vary with the height of the aircraft?

Indeed, the researchers associated with ARMAS, expected that the dose rate will vary eventually with latitude, longitude and height of the aircraft. However, they found that the dose rates, enhances way faster with height. Hence, the researchers took readings, at a variety of sites and observed that spikes in radiation happened at high altitudes, above 50 degrees in both hemispheres.

The researchers are unaware of the fact that what is it that is causing the alteration; however, it is suggestive that it is a probability that the radiation clouds are trapping cosmic rays.

The magnetic field of Earth traps a number of cosmic rays and solar energized particles in structures which are called magnetic bottles. However, these bottles leak fast. And they do, with just a small gust of solar wind. This sends beams of radiations towards Earth.

It definitely does have an impact on the health of the individuals. Hence, frequent flyers and air crew are susceptible to the radiations!

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