Astronauts returning to the Moon will be exposed to radiation 2.6 times higher than on board the International Space Station (ISS), a new study says.
Scientists used data from China's 2019 Chang'E 4 lander to determine the amount of radiation humans would be exposed to on the lunar surface.
An average daily radiation dose is 1,369 microsieverts per day – about 2.6 times higher than the daily dose for ISS crew, 200 times higher than on the surface of the Earth and five to 10 times higher 'than on a flight from New York to Frankfurt'.
NASA plans to build Moon bases that won't be penetrated by lethal rays when it sends humans back to the Moon in 2024, including the first woman, as part of the Artemis programme. Moon-bound astronauts are up to five times more likely to die from cardiovascular diseases than those who just orbited the Earth, according to a 2016 study. 'Because astronauts would be exposed to these radiation levels longer than passengers or pilots on transatlantic flights, this is a considerable exposure,' said Robert Wimmer-Schweingruber at University of Kiel in Germany, author of the study published in Science Advances. 'We humans are not really made to withstand space radiation. 'However, astronauts can and should shield themselves as far as possible during longer stays on the moon, for example by covering their habitat with a thick layer of lunar soil.' Since the Moon has neither a protective magnetic field nor an atmosphere, the radiation field on the lunar surface is similar to that in interplanetary space. During a stay on the moon humans are exposed to elevated radiation due to this lack of atmospheric shielding. Moon-based astronauts would have to contend with multiple radiation sources, including galactic cosmic rays and sporadic solar particle events,…