Cosmic Rays Constantly Pummel Our Moon

According to scientists cosmic rays from beyond our solar system constantly pummel

 Earth’s moon, fundamentally changing the chemistry and color of the lunar ice and dirt. New measurements of the strength of this space radiation from NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter show that these cosmic rays can cause significant chemical alteration on the surface of the moon. The measurements also help scientists test theoretical models of the moon’s radiation environment. This could prove important as cosmic rays are thought to present a significant radiation risk to astronauts during space travels. As reported physicist Nathan Schwadron from University of New Hampshire their validated models will be able to answer the question of how hazardous the space environment is and could be during these high-energy radiation events, and the ability to do this is absolutely necessary for any manned space exploration beyond low-Earth orbit. Cosmic rays are predominantly protons, electrons, and charged nuclei of basic elements. They flow into our solar system from elsewhere in the galaxy, and their paths are bent by the magnetic fields of the sun and Earth. While our planet’s atmosphere protects us from the brunt of cosmic rays, the moon, which has no atmosphere, is exposed to their full force. The new findings are especially useful because the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter’s CRaTER instrument, which the researchers used in the new study, measures how much radiation pierces a layer of plastic designed to simulate human tissue, thus revealing how much radiation would likely pass through astronauts’ bodies.

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