Sun  Planets and Moons  ID: 13275

How NASA Will Protect Astronauts From Space Radiation

August 1972, as NASA scientist Ian Richardson remembers it, was hot. In Surrey, England, where he grew up, the fields were brown and dry, and people tried to stay out of the Sun, indoors and televisions on. But for several days that month, his TV picture kept breaking up. “Do not adjust your set,” he recalls the BBC announcing. “Heat isn’t causing the interference. It’s sunspots.”

The same sunspots that disrupted the television signals led to enormous solar flares — powerful bursts of radiation from the Sun — Aug. 4-7 that year. Between the Apollo 16 and 17 missions, the solar eruptions were a near miss for lunar explorers. Had they been in orbit or on the Moon’s surface, they would have sustained dangerous levels of solar radiation sparked by the eruptions. Today, the Apollo-era flares serve as a reminder of the threat of radiation exposure for technology and astronauts in space. Understanding and predicting solar eruptions is crucial for safe space exploration.

Almost 50 years since those 1972 storms, the data, technology and resources available to NASA have improved, enabling advancements towards space weather forecasts and astronaut protection — key to NASA’s Artemis program to return astronauts to the Moon.



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Edward Semones (NASA/JSC)
Kerry T. Lee (NASA/JSC)
Ian G. Richardson (University of Maryland, College Park)
Ruthan Lewis (NASA/GSFC)
Yaireska Collado-Vega (NASA/GSFC)
Eric Christian Ph.D. (NASA/HQ)
Noah Petro (NASA/GSFC)
Georgia De Nolfo (NASA/GSFC)

Joy Ng (USRA)

Kathalina Tran (SGT)

Tom Bridgman (Global Science and Technology, Inc.)
Greg Shirah (NASA/GSFC)
Walt Feimer (KBR Wyle Services, LLC)
Scott Wiessinger (USRA)
Brian Monroe (USRA)
Josh Masters (Freelance)

Joy Ng (USRA)
John Caldwell (Advocates in Manpower Management, Inc.)
Rob Andreoli (Advocates in Manpower Management, Inc.)

Technical Support:
Aaron E. Lepsch (ADNET Systems, Inc.)

Please give credit for this item to:
NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center

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Artemis Program (Human Spaceflight — Moon to Mars)

This item is part of this series:
Narrated Movies

SVS >> Heliosphere
SVS >> Magnetosphere
SVS >> Mars
SVS >> Moon
SVS >> Plasma
SVS >> Radiation
SVS >> Solar Cycle
SVS >> Solar Wind
GCMD >> Earth Science >> Human Dimensions >> Human Health >> Radiation Exposure
GCMD >> Earth Science >> Sun-earth Interactions >> Solar Activity >> Cosmic Rays
GCMD >> Earth Science >> Sun-earth Interactions >> Solar Activity >> Solar Flares
GCMD >> Earth Science >> Sun-earth Interactions >> Solar Activity >> Sunspots
SVS >> Space Weather
SVS >> Solar Dynamics Observatory
SVS >> Astronaut
SVS >> Heliophysics
SVS >> Sunspot Cycle
SVS >> Apollo Missions
SVS >> Corona
SVS >> Apollo 17
NASA Science >> Sun
NASA Science >> Planets and Moons
GCMD >> Earth Science >> Climate Indicators >> Sun-earth Interactions >> Sunspot Activity
GCMD >> Earth Science >> Human Dimensions >> Public Health >> Radiation Exposure
GCMD >> Earth Science >> Sun-earth Interactions >> Solar Activity >> Coronal Mass Ejections
GCMD >> Earth Science >> Sun-earth Interactions >> Solar Energetic Particle Flux
SVS >> Space Radiation
SVS >> Parker Solar Probe
SVS >> CME shock
SVS >> 1972
SVS >> Flare
SVS >> Solar Energetic Particles
SVS >> Galactic Cosmic Rays
SVS >> Radiation Protection
SVS >> Solar Particle Event
SVS >> Blackout
SVS >> Radiation Sickness
SVS >> Community Coordinated Modeling Center
SVS >> Orion
SVS >> Space Travel
SVS >> Human Spaceflight

GCMD keywords can be found on the Internet with the following citation: Olsen, L.M., G. Major, K. Shein, J. Scialdone, S. Ritz, T. Stevens, M. Morahan, A. Aleman, R. Vogel, S. Leicester, H. Weir, M. Meaux, S. Grebas, C.Solomon, M. Holland, T. Northcutt, R. A. Restrepo, R. Bilodeau, 2013. NASA/Global Change Master Directory (GCMD) Earth Science Keywords. Version