Accession Number:

ADA546541

Title:

Ionizing Radiation in Earth's Atmosphere and in Space Near Earth

Descriptive Note:

Final rept.

Corporate Author:

FEDERAL AVIATION ADMINISTRATION OKLAHOMA CITY OK CIVIL AEROSPACE MEDICAL INST

Personal Author(s):

Report Date:

2011-05-01

Pagination or Media Count:

32.0

Abstract:

The Civil Aerospace Medical Institute of the FAA is charged with identifying health hazards in air travel and in commercial human space travel. This report addresses one of these hazards - ionizing radiation. Ionizing radiation is a subatomic particle of matter or packet of energy photon with sufficient energy to eject an orbital electron from an atom. Charged subatomic particles from exploding stars supernovae are a constant source of ionizing radiation in the atmosphere and in space. In space another constant source of ionizing radiation is the solar wind from the Sun. The solar wind consists mostly of electrons and protons with energies between 10 and 100 keV. The Sun undergoes an approximately 11-year cycle of rise and decline in activity and during its active phase there is an increased emission of the solar wind and occasional eruptions of high-energy particles coronal mass ejections. Other sources of ionizing radiation during air travel include radioactive cargo, radioactive substances released into the atmosphere as a result of a nuclear reactor accident or terrorist activity, lightning, and terrestrial gamma-ray flashes. A health effect following exposure to ionizing radiation for which the severity is radiation dose related is called a deterministic effect non-stochastic effect, tissue reaction. Deterministic effects may occur soon after radiation exposure. For example, nausea and vomiting might be experienced by a space traveler a few hours after receiving a large dose of ionizing radiation while outside a space vehicle during a coronal mass ejection. If the probability risk of a health effect after exposure to ionizing radiation is dose related, it is called a stochastic effect. Such effects seldom occur until years after the radiation exposure. Examples of stochastic effects are cancer and genetic disorders. If one or both parents arThe report can be used as a source book for instruction on ionizing radiation exposure of air an

Subject Categories:

  • Atmospheric Physics

Distribution Statement:

APPROVED FOR PUBLIC RELEASE