Space Weather

Galactic cosmic ray radiation hazard in the unusual extended solar minimum between solar cycles 23 and 24

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Abstract

[1] Galactic cosmic rays (GCRs) are extremely difficult to shield against and pose one of the most severe long-term hazards for human exploration of space. The recent solar minimum between solar cycles 23 and 24 shows a prolonged period of reduced solar activity and low interplanetary magnetic field strengths. As a result, the modulation of GCRs is very weak, and the fluxes of GCRs are near their highest levels in the last 25 years in the fall of 2009. Here we explore the dose rates of GCRs in the current prolonged solar minimum and make predictions for the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) Cosmic Ray Telescope for the Effects of Radiation (CRaTER), which is now measuring GCRs in the lunar environment. Our results confirm the weak modulation of GCRs leading to the largest dose rates seen in the last 25 years over a prolonged period of little solar activity.

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