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Author Topic: How did Apollo deal with the Van Allen radiation belts ?  (Read 1272 times)

Offline Sgt.Rocknroll

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Re: How did Apollo deal with the Van Allen radiation belts ?
« Reply #15 on: April 12, 2017, 07:03:58 AM »
Found this, thought it might help the discussion.
from: Compiled and maintained by Christopher M Jones


Isn't it impossible for a human to travel through the van Allen
    radiation belts and live?

The van Allen "belts" are zones of radiation where high speed particles
(such as protons and electrons) that have been trapped from the Solar
wind by the Earth's magnetic fields.  The inner van Allen belt extends
from about 1,000 to 5,000 kilometers above Earth's surface, the outer
van Allen belt extends from about 15,000 to 25,000 kilometers above
Earth's surface.  The radiation in the van Allen belts was a serious
concern for the Apollo program.  The Apollo spacecraft were designed to
provide some protection from the van Allen radiation, but more than that
the mission was designed so that astronauts spent the least possible
amount of time in the van Allen belts.  The actual amount of radiation
received by the Apollo astronauts during their passage through the van
Allen belts is difficult to determine but it is estimated to be about
2 rems (or 20 milli-Sieverts).

In comparison, a modern chest X-ray will deliver about 10-20 millirems
to the subject, radiation doses from background radiation (cosmic rays,
radon, uranium deposits, etc.) for the average human living on Earth is
on the order of 100 millirems per year, and annual doses for people
working around radiation (for example, X-ray technicians, nuclear power
plant workers, etc.) can range up to 0.4 rems per year.  The "maximum
permissible dose" for radiation workers on Earth is 5 rems per year or
25 rems in a single emergency exposure.  A 25-100 rem dose will increase
a person's chance of developing cancer.  Around 100-200 rems, a person
will experience nausea several hours after exposure.  Above 300 rems,
severe vomiting, and hemorrhaging will result nearly immediately, loss
of hair, and other health effects will result fairly rapidly, greater
than half of the people exposed to this much radiation will die within 2
months.  Above 800 rems, diarrhea, dehydration, and problems with
digestive organs will result rapidly, over 90% of people exposed to this
much radiation will die within two weeks.  Above several thousand rems,
death results in a few days and convulsions and nervous system failure
occurs almost immediately.  So, 2 rems is certainly a lot, but by no
means would it cause instant death or illness.  And in fact is most
likely to cause no noticeable immediate or long term effects.
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Offline Eighthman

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Re: How did Apollo deal with the Van Allen radiation belts ?
« Reply #16 on: April 12, 2017, 07:07:14 AM »
I also wonder about the film containers within a tin bucket such as the Apollo craft.  And did they go forward knowing that an unexpected solar storm could kill them all? ( even if we agree on the 2 rem dose model?)

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Offline Sgt.Rocknroll

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Re: How did Apollo deal with the Van Allen radiation belts ?
« Reply #17 on: April 12, 2017, 07:20:02 AM »
This should help from Space.com

Designing better spacecraft

The Van Allen Probes are specially radiation-hardened to withstand the intense environment of the belts. Some spacecraft, however, are more vulnerable — especially when a solar storm hits. At worst, spacecraft can short out due to an electrical overload. Communications can also be disrupted. Fortunately, sometimes instruments can be turned on or off on a spacecraft during a solar storm.

Radiation, of course, also poses a human risk. Astronauts are subject to lifetime radiation limits from their time in space, to reduce any risk of cancer. Since only a few dozen people have spent six months or longer in space, however, it will take decades to understand the long-term effects of radiation on humans.

The astronauts on the ISS do not regularly spend time inside the belts, but from time to time solar storms expand the belts to the orbit of the space station. In the 1960s, several Apollo crews went through the Van Allen belts on their way to and from the moon. Their time in that radiation-intensive region, however, was very short, in part because the trajectory was designed to pass through the thinnest known parts. With more study, astronauts can be better protected for long-term stays in Earth orbit.

"We study radiation belts because they pose a hazard to spacecraft and astronauts," said David Sibeck, the Van Allen Probes mission scientist at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland, in an August 2016 NASA statement. "If you knew how bad the radiation could get, you would build a better spacecraft to accommodate that."
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Offline Eighthman

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Re: How did Apollo deal with the Van Allen radiation belts ?
« Reply #18 on: April 12, 2017, 08:03:53 AM »
I wonder if Apollo planners  were tempted to use some vacuum tube equipment. Like Soviets did for nuke proof stuff.  Come to think of it, Traveling wave eq. was tubes, if they used that.

 


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