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I would assume the planet Mercury represents a 'worst case' for radiation risk to people. But how bad is it as compared to, say, radiation workers annual dose limit?

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    $\begingroup$ What type of radiation are you interested in? And why would you assume that Mercury represents a worst case? $\endgroup$ – user Jun 24 '16 at 14:08
  • $\begingroup$ Galactic cosmic rays (GCR) and solar ionizing radiation. This is in reference to a manned mission to Mercury. The objective is to understand the danger a crew would face on the surface while deploying their first habitat. My assumption is based on Mercury's nearness to the Sun compared to all other planets. $\endgroup$ – MercuryPlus Jun 24 '16 at 14:20
  • $\begingroup$ in a manned mission, cosmic radiation would be a minor problem comparing to thermal radiation. $\endgroup$ – SF. Jun 24 '16 at 15:20
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    $\begingroup$ Related: Mars versus the poles of Mercury WRT colonization $\endgroup$ – smci Jul 14 at 21:49
  • $\begingroup$ Are we mainly talking about the radiation risk to humans, or unmanned vehicles/equipment/probes? Consider 95++% of Mercury's surface isn't colonizable since it's not in synchronous rotation with the Sun, so over a Mercury 'day' of 58.7 Earth days and 'year of 88 Earth days, everywhere (except craters of perpetual darkness near both poles) will eventually be enlightened by the Sun at 800ºF/430ºC. So, I think human colonists could only live below the crater rim of the polar craters of perpetual darkness. $\endgroup$ – smci Jul 14 at 21:58
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According to this NASA Mercury Facts Sheet, Mercury has almost 7 times the Solar Irradiance that Earth receives (9082.7 W/m^2 versus 1361 W/m^2). I'm not certain how this value translates to Sievert Units.

Mercury does have a large magnetosphere though, which should protect anyone on the planet from a large amount of the harmful radiation the Sun puts out (similar to Earth.) I'd wager you'd receive less radiation on Mercury than on the Moon because of the magnetosphere.

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  • $\begingroup$ According to that same Facts Sheet, Mercury has a rather long day. Perhaps the mass of the planet might act as an insulator? $\endgroup$ – Dan Pichelman Jun 24 '16 at 15:37
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    $\begingroup$ At night the solar radiations are a non-issue. A mission could land at night, but the initial work to build a base is much more dangerous in the dark. Right now the idea is to land just before sunset (say, four days) when temps on the surface are lower and objects vertical to the surface (like astronauts) have vacuum to radiate waste heat into. The problem with ionizing radiation is more difficult. What I'm looking for is a figure for how much radiation the crew would encounter during those four days. . . $\endgroup$ – MercuryPlus Jun 24 '16 at 15:49
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    $\begingroup$ @MercuryPlus: please edit all that context into your question. $\endgroup$ – smci Jul 14 at 21:59
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    $\begingroup$ @MercuryPlus I think going at night was NASA's strategy for landing on the Sun as well ;-) $\endgroup$ – uhoh Jul 15 at 5:19

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