A group of international researchers has found that the cosmic rays in the space are posing potential threat to the deep-space astronaut missions in the future as they have created radiation hazards over there.
According to the researchers, there is highly abnormal solar activity in the space that is making the solar wind to exhibit extremely low magnetic field strengths and densities. This condition has triggered hazardous levels of dangerous radiation to permeate in the space environment, they said.
“The behaviour of the Sun has recently changed and is now in a state not observed for almost 100 years,” said Nathan Schwadron, an associate professor of the Institute for the Study of Earth, Oceans and Space (EOS) in the University of New Hampshire.
The changing behaviour of the Sun and its influence in the space atmosphere has triggered the galactic cosmic rays at highest intensities since the commencement of the space age.
“While these conditions are not necessarily a showstopper for long-duration missions to the moon, asteroids or Mars, the galactic cosmic ray radiation continues to be a remarkable and worsening factor that limits mission durations,” Schwadron said.
The high levels of radiation witnessed during the last minimum cycle of the Sun cuts the allowable days meant for the astronauts behind spacecraft shielding.
If the current trend of lowering solar output is considered, the allowable days for astronauts in the space is declining and is estimated to be 20 percent lower in the coming solar minimum cycle than the last minimum cycle.
While concluding the study, Schwadron said, “These data are a fundamental reference for the radiation hazards in near Earth ‘geospace’ and other regions of our Sun’s vast heliosphere.”
The research work was detailed in the journal Space Weather.