The US space agency NASA’s Moon mission is progressing on its schedule. But the agency is facing multiple challenges that need an urgent redressal. The latest point of concern pertains to space radiation. The agency has planned to land the first woman and the next man on the lunar surface. The astronauts will be exposed to space radiation during their journey and on the Moon surface. Space radiation can cause lasting effects on astronauts’ health from cancer to neurodegenerative disorders. According to a study, the radiation on the Moon is almost three times greater than on the International Space Station.
As per the plan, NASA will land two astronauts on the surface of Moon in 2024. Though the past Apollo missions proved that it was safe for humans to spend a few days on the Moon, the fear of radiation affecting the health of astronauts remains the biggest danger. Also, it is a matter of concern for the agency’s plans to send astronauts deep into the space for exploration. During its 1960s and 1970s missions, the agency didn’t measure the daily radiation on the Moon. Had NASA taken the daily measurements, it would have proved to be beneficial for the researchers in determining how long astronauts can stay on the lunar surface.
The space agency wants the astronauts to spend a week on the Moon. The Apollo astronauts had spent 21 hours and 36 minutes. The study noted that there are several sources of radiation exposure. This includes galactic cosmic rays, and others. It is measured using the unit sievert. This helps scientists to quantify the exact amount of absorbent by human tissues. The study said that radiation exposure on the Moon is 1,369 microsieverts daily. This is around 2.6 times higher than astronauts at the ISS absorb per day. They concluded that the reason could be that the ISS is still partly shielded by the magnetosphere. The magnetosphere helps to deflect radiation from space and acts as a shield for the humans on Earth.