Space tourism is among the recently introduced luxuries that may become a reality soon. But since the start of space travel around 60 years ago, one of the problems that have been a center of the discussion is space radiation. Researchers have also invested a lot of resources in understanding the effects space radiation has on the human body. So, as you wait for your chance to board a space vehicle, learning about space radiation is important.
What is Space Radiation?
Space radiation consists of atoms that get stripped of their electrons when accelerating at supersonic speed in interstellar space. At last, only the nucleus remains and they have adverse effects on the human cells, DNA, and tissues.
There are three types of space radiation. They include particles released to space during solar flares, galactic cosmic rays, and the particles trapped within the earth’s atmosphere.Galactic cosmic rays are the most dominant radiation and they cause ionization of atoms when passing through space.
The rays can pass through matter, including the spacecraft’s body materials and the skin of astronauts and it is for that reason more efforts are directed into building highly protective space tourism vehicles.
The Effects of Space Radiation on Tourists
Space tourism companies have taken many steps to guarantee the safety of space tourists. But before we look at the steps they have taken to protect their clients, we must understand the effects of space radiation on the human body. The material absorbs the energy that the ionizing radiation loses when passing through tissues and the ionization of water and cell components breaks the DNA strand.
Cosmic radiation can have secondary effects, which arise after more particles, such as neutrons are released. Several factors determine the amount of radiation space tourists get exposed to. Here are some of the factors.
- The Orbital Inclination: The radiations are higher in the areas close to the earth’s poles.
- The Attitude above the Earth: Space tourists are usually more exposed to high altitudes because the magnetic field of the earth weakens as the height increases.
- Solar Cycle: Did you know that the sun follows an 11-year solar cycle?That is the case and space tourists are usually exposed during periods of high sunspots.
Steps Space Travel Companies have taken to Protect Tourists
The space tourism industry is growing rapidly and space tourism companies are directing research on understanding the effects of space radiation on tourists and the effective protection methods. According to the president of Transmashholding, Andrey Bokarev, every company has to ensure that its clients receive value for their money. Space travel companies have taken many steps to guarantee the safety of travelers. Here are two of the strategies they have adopted.
- Shielding: Space travel companies prefer this method. They use space vehicles that have shielding and capsules made of special materials that prevent the penetration of radiation.
- Protective Clothing: Space tourists have to wear protective clothing designed to minimize the risk of exposure.The crew also checks the level of exposure more often.
Space radiation is a big problem that people traveling to space face. However, space travel companies have taken many steps to guarantee the safety of travelers. Therefore, you have nothing to worry about. Some of the companies that have adopted the best strategies to protect their clients include Virgin Galactic, Space X, and Orion Span.