73 votes
Accepted

Why don't we shield existing CPUs from radiation instead of designing new ones?

Because shielding against radiation is heavy, and weight is the enemy of getting things into space. CPUs are quite sensitive to radiation, and some types of radiation (cosmic rays) are not only quite ...
ANone's user avatar
  • 3,432
68 votes

How did Apollo missions solve the cosmic radiation problem?

While cosmic radiation is a problem, it's the same as with radiation on Earth: the risk is cumulative. The levels were low enough that missions of 1-2 weeks at this level did not pose a big health ...
Hobbes's user avatar
  • 128k
54 votes

How did Apollo missions solve the cosmic radiation problem?

They didn't, which is why the Apollo astronauts saw blinding flashes inside their eyes during the mission and then had a much higher probability of suffering from cataracts later in life. The flashes ...
Robert Longson's user avatar
48 votes

How did Apollo missions solve the cosmic radiation problem?

Apollo solved the cosmic radiation problem in a counter-intuitive manner: by minimizing shielding. Most cosmic rays are very-high-energy atomic nuclei; the rest are very-high-energy protons. When ...
Mark's user avatar
  • 15.3k
31 votes
Accepted

How to check, if there is currently an increased solar activity?

Looks pretty darned quiet to me right now: You can find that here, along with other measures of space weather. By the way, cosmic rays and solar activity are two entirely different things. Cosmic ...
Mark Adler's user avatar
  • 58.2k
18 votes

How can cosmic ray muons be used to replace GPS for positioning information in 3D on Earth and underwater?

From what that paper says, it's based on the flight time of highly-relativistic muons between a reference detector at the surface and the final detector under the water. There are three or more ...
Roger Wood's user avatar
  • 3,864
17 votes
Accepted

Has depleted uranium been considered for radiation shielding in crewed spacecraft beyond LEO?

Is DU, in fact, the best shielding by mass? The first thing to note is that the given quote from Wikipedia is not very relevant for the case of shielding of spacecraft: It refers to shielding against ...
asdfex's user avatar
  • 15k
16 votes

How big is the risk/potential damage from radiation on a Mars trip?

If you just stay here on Earth, you have an 18% chance of dying of cancer. Let's first consider a one-way trip, ignoring solar flares and radiation after you land. So just consider the cosmic rays, ...
Mark Adler's user avatar
  • 58.2k
14 votes

Why don't we shield existing CPUs from radiation instead of designing new ones?

You actually ask a really good question. And the answer is, we do both, depending on the needs. NASA tends to go for the ultra-reliable, and radiation tolerant components are more reliable, thus it ...
PearsonArtPhoto's user avatar
  • 121k
13 votes
Accepted

Could cosmic rays be produced by alien propulsion systems?

I can't give a precise answer to your primary question besides "Extremely unlikely", but here are some facts on cosmic rays that might help coming to a conclusive answer: Current models are able to ...
asdfex's user avatar
  • 15k
12 votes
Accepted

How are cubesat electronics protected against the effects of radiation in LEO?

Radiation shielding in a cubesat (and spacecraft in general) is a tricky thing because radiation shielding adds mostly negative factors to the satellite. In general, the heavier your shielding is and ...
Dragongeek's user avatar
  • 18.8k
11 votes
Accepted

Could a spacesuit similar to the suit of Felix Baumgartner be used on the Moon and Mars?

Baumgartner's suit is now on display at the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum. The museum's magazine describes that suit as a "pressurized flight suit", not a spacesuit. They are not the ...
DrSheldon's user avatar
  • 48k
11 votes
Accepted

How radioactive is surface regolith on the Moon?

tl;dr: This is not meant to be a at all a complete answer, but it's a start, and I think it gives a flavor of what will come; that in general the stuff is not very radioactive as (at)Gregg has already ...
uhoh's user avatar
  • 149k
10 votes
Accepted

Can cosmic background be harvested for energy?

I'm guessing you mean cosmic microwave background radiation. A radio tuned to an empty frequency hears "static" noise. A small fraction of the static received by an analog television is in fact the ...
uhoh's user avatar
  • 149k
9 votes
Accepted

Is radiation dose from cosmic rays higher behind 50 cm of shielding, or lower?

Those two graphs are not showing the same thing. The lecture slide is misleadingly labeled, but the original paper makes clear that the table is only showing neutrons, mostly produced by shield ...
Quentin Clarkson's user avatar
8 votes

Can cosmic background be harvested for energy?

Yes! If we assume that you have access to a large black hole and materials that probably can't exist, you can run a heat engine off of the cosmic microwave background radiation. Reasonably sized ...
Schlusstein's user avatar
  • 2,157
7 votes
Accepted

How much radiation are astronauts on the ISS exposed to?

It's important to understand the different types of radiation exposure that astronauts can be exposed to. Galactic Cosmic Rays (GCR's) are a more-or-less isentropic throughout the galaxy and are ...
phobos's user avatar
  • 471
6 votes

Is there any safety advantage/disadvantage to a particular attitude of a vessel in space?

Radiation As you have rightly noted, a long cylinder pointing end on to the radiation source (probably the sun, especially during periods of high activity), can be shielded by a smaller, and thus ...
Jack B's user avatar
  • 583
5 votes

How are nuclear thermal reactors designed for cosmic rays in space?

A couple of things: The reference OP provided for cosmic rays states: Cosmic Ray Composition: Cosmic rays include essentially all of the elements in the periodic table; about 89% of the nuclei are ...
codeMonkey's user avatar
  • 1,623
5 votes

How much power would a spacecraft's magnetic shield require?

This might be of interest: CERN, in collaboration with the European Space Radiation Super Conducting Shield project are using advances in super conductor technology to develop a super conducting ...
Robert Walker's user avatar
5 votes

Can cosmic background be harvested for energy?

You probably want to harvest usable energy, a physicist would rather call that low entropy. Harvesting energy would mean you heat up indefinitely. Accepting that thermodynamics drives deterministic ...
Andreas's user avatar
  • 1,385
5 votes

How big is the risk/potential damage from radiation on a Mars trip?

There was a sensor called RAD (Radiation Assessment Detector) on the Curiosity rover, for measuring the inflight radiation does. On the one hand, the results showed that there was a significant ...
geoffc's user avatar
  • 79.6k
5 votes
Accepted

What are the cutting edge materials & strategies which could be used for radiation shielding on long-duration missions?

Most shielding is just mass plus atomic number - for cosmic Ray shielding you want light elements, as heavy elements make more radiation. Water and polyethylene are good options. The main ...
ikrase's user avatar
  • 8,874
5 votes

Could a spacesuit similar to the suit of Felix Baumgartner be used on the Moon and Mars?

A space suit worn on the Moon needs a system for removal of heat produced by the body of the wearer. A system that works in a vacuum without air around it. The suits also had a micro meteroite ...
Uwe's user avatar
  • 49k
4 votes
Accepted

Protecting technology from radiation on mars

Mostly by designing this equipment to be radiation tolerant in the first place, and also providing redundancies where needed. The materials and components selection are are a careful process, with ...
kert's user avatar
  • 1,320
4 votes

How much soil can be supported by an inflatable habitat on Mars?

You can get a ballpark figure by assuming the roof of the habitat is flat, supported entirely be air pressure and doesn't weigh much in and of itself. Your diagram suggests a full Earth atmosphere ...
Steve Linton's user avatar
  • 19.6k
4 votes

What's the unshielded radiation dose in mSv in Low Earth Orbit?

After a lot of reasearch, I've found this NASA page https://srag.jsc.nasa.gov/Publications/TM104782/techmemo.htm where it states that "The integral GCR dose rate in free space is approximately a ...
Haalef's user avatar
  • 283
4 votes
Accepted

3D Model of radiation in earth orbit?

The level of detail you seem to want probably requires the use numerical radiation software. I would recommend the free SPENVIS package made available by the European Space Agency or SRIM software. ...
Knudsen Number's user avatar
4 votes

Using inflatable balloons to collect hydrogen from space as a simple solution for radiation shielding

As the narrator says almost immediately afterward, they're looking at using water as shielding, not gaseous hydrogen; you need to bring water along anyway, might as well store it around the crew ...
John Bode's user avatar
  • 2,300
4 votes

Using inflatable balloons to collect hydrogen from space as a simple solution for radiation shielding

Such a technique, while possible, is very impractical. This is in part because, in leo and even at the karman line, the atmosphere is so extremely rarified that it no longer acts as a fluid and ...
R. Hall's user avatar
  • 822

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