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UNH Scientists Provide Window On Space Radiation Hazards

October 16, 2012 Leave a comment

Astrophysicists from the University of New Hampshire’s Space Science Center (SSC) have created the first online system for predicting and forecasting the radiation environment in near-Earth, lunar, and Martian space environments. The near real-time tool will provide critical information as preparations are made for potential future manned missions to the moon and Mars.

“If we send human beings back to the moon, and especially if we’re able to go to Mars, it will be critical to have a system like this in place to protect astronauts from radiation hazards,” says associate professor of physics Nathan Schwadron of the UNH Institute for the Study of Earth, Oceans, and Space (EOS), which houses the SSC.

The website provides updates of the radiation environment on an hourly basis and archives the data weekly, monthly, and yearly. This historical record provides a clear picture of when a safe radiation dose limit is reached for skin or blood-forming organs, for example.

Full Story: http://www.eos.unh.edu/news/indiv_news.shtml?NEWS_ID=1347
PREDICCS Website: http://prediccs.sr.unh.edu/

UT Study Confirms Solar Wind As Source For Moon Water

October 16, 2012 Leave a comment

Three years ago University of Tennessee, Knoxville, researchers helped to discover water on the surface of the moon. Now, they are piecing together the origin of that water: solar wind.

Solar wind is the continuous flow of charged particles from the sun. Scientists have speculated it to be responsible for water on the surface of the moon.

Last year Larry Taylor, distinguished professor in the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences, confirmed comets as the source for water inside the moon. This year, Yang Liu, research assistant professor, and Taylor have confirmed solar wind as the source for water on the outside—by depositing positively charged hydrogen atoms, or protons, onto its surface, allowing it to combine with the moon’s oxygen to create water.

“When those protons hit the lunar surface with enough force, they break apart oxygen bonds in soil materials to join together and form water,” said Liu. “This does not happen on Earth because our atmosphere and magnetic field protect us from being bombarded by these protons, but the moon lacks this protection.”

Full Story: http://www.utk.edu/tntoday/2012/10/15/study-confirms-solar-wind-source/
Also: http://www.ns.umich.edu/new/releases/20870-solar-wind-particles-likely-source-of-water-locked-inside-lunar-soils