Prediction system to protect astronauts from solar storms


  • Colin Schultz


With the impending solar maximum expected to bring heightened rates of fares and coronal mass ejections (CMEs), putting at risk an ever-increasing human presence in space, Oh et al. designed and assessed a prediction system to keep astronauts safe from these solar storms. During a solar fare or CME, particles from the Sun can be accelerated to very high energies—in some cases traveling near the speed of light. Protons with energies surpassing 100 megaelectron volts (MeV) essentially sandblast everything in their path. Though people on Earth are protected by the planet's magnetic feld and thick atmosphere, astronauts in spacecraft beyond low-Earth orbit or people at high altitudes near the poles can be exposed to this increased radiation, which can cause radiation sickness, with symptoms such as fever and vomiting.