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Space Tourism: Understanding Space Radiation

Mention the term space tourism and every person who wants to travel with a difference will tell you one thing, “This is an experience I do not want to miss.” As the name suggests, space tourism, unlike conventional travelling on the globe, involves going to space for leisure. As you prepare for space traveling, one of the concerns is likely to be about space radiation and its impacts. Keep reading to learn more about space radiation, how it affects travellers, and efforts by travel companies to keep visitors safe.

What is Space Radiation?

Space radiation comprises atoms that have been stripped of their electrons when accelerating in the interstellar space at supersonic speed. Ultimately, only the nucleus of the atoms remains and it is believed to have possible implications on human tissues, cells, and DNA.

The radiation can be classified into three, particles that are shot to space during solar flares, particles trapped in the earth’s atmosphere, and galactic cosmic rays. The most dominant radiation is the galactic cosmic rays, which can cause ionization of atoms as they pass through space. Note that they can easily pass through matter, such as the skin of astronauts or spacecraft body materials. This is why a lot of efforts have been directed into the design of space tourism vehicles for better protection.

How Does Space Radiation Affect Tourists?

Before we can look at the efforts used by space companies to make space travel safer, “What are the effects of space radiation?”  The energy lost by the ionizing radiation as it moves via tissues is absorbed by the material. The ionization of the cell components and water can easily result in the breaking the DNA strand.

Cosmic radiation can also result in a secondary effect, which is created when more particles, including neutrons are created. It is important to appreciate that the amount of radiation that space tourists get exposed to depends on a number of things, including the following:

  • The orbital inclination – Areas closer to the earth’s poles have higher radiation.
  • Altitude above the earth – At higher altitudes, space tourists are more exposed because the earth’s magnetic field is weaker.
  • Solar cycle– The sun follows an 11-year solar cycle, and you are likely to get higher exposure during periods of higher sunspots.

Efforts to Keep Tourists Safe from Space Radiation: Andrey Bokarev

As space tourism industry continues to grow, more research is being directed into understanding how radiation affects visitors and methods of protecting them. To agree with Andrey Bokarev, the president of Transmashholding, every company should target delivering value to win the loyalty of its clients. In space tourism, the efforts are impressive and you can count on them for safe travel. Here are some of the strategies they use to enhance safety of visitors:

  • Shielding: This is the most preferred method of protecting travellers to space. The space vehicles have shielding and capsules designed with special materials to prevent the entry of harmful radiation.
  • Protective clothing: In addition to space vehicles protection, you also have to wear protective clothing that helps to further reduce the risk of exposure. If you will take longer in space, the crew might have to check the level of radiation exposure regularly.

As you can see, radiation can be a serious problem when travelling to space. However, you should not shy away because the efforts put into place are satisfactory. Some of the companies with the best strategies for customer protection when travelling to space include SpaceX, Virgin Galactic, and Orion Span.