Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

New study seeks to identify and minimize danger to aviation from cosmic radiation

23.10.2003


Scientists have long known of the potential risk from cosmic rays and other aspects of space weather, such as streams of protons from the Sun, to airline electronic systems, passengers, and crews. It has not been feasible to quantify this risk, however, as systematic data are lacking on the actual amount of rays and the charged particles and neutrons they create in Earth’s atmosphere that are encountered during typical flights. Researchers have now begun collecting that information, thanks to a newly developed instrument, the Low Linear-Energy-Transfer Radiation Spectrometer (LoLRS).



The need to know the precise level of cosmic and solar radiation along air routes has become more acute, as recent generations of commercial aircraft use "fly-by-wire" control systems, managed by on-board computers, which are subject to damage by high radiation levels. Future aircraft will employ even more sensitive technologies, and will therefore be more susceptible to damage.

"This substantially increases the need to improve the definition of the atmospheric radiation field as a function of location and time, and to reduce the significant uncertainties associated with present day predictions," says Epaminondas G. Stassinopoulos of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, lead researcher of the project. Their report is one of the first papers published in the American Geophysical Union’s new journal, Space Weather.


With the cooperation of Evergreen International Airlines, which flies long distance cargo routes, LoLRS instruments have been flown aboard Boeing 747s across the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, across the United States, the length of Africa, and, more recently, in the Arctic. Repetitive flights over the same routes have enabled the scientists to begin studying the long term effects of solar and environmental influences at aviation altitudes.

During each flight, every change in the plane’s altitude and direction is recorded, because such factors as weather and traffic affect the exact route and altitude of a flight, regardless of the original flight plan. It is essential for the researchers to know the precise location, altitude, and time of each radiation measurement.

Ultimately, Stassinopoulos and his colleagues hope to produce global maps that reflect the dynamic nature of the atmospheric radiation field. This will require the collection of a large quantity of data, and the researchers are therefore developing techniques for analyzing the collected information. The research will involve both aircraft and high altitude balloons that circle the polar regions for long periods.

The preliminary tests have confirmed that doses of radiation from cosmic rays and the particles they create are more intense at higher altitudes and at higher latitudes; that is, they are strongest in the Arctic and Antarctic regions. This is particularly true during solar storms, during which large quantities of charged particles reach Earth’s atmosphere. The scientists hope that the new study will go far beyond previous research in this field and facilitate the construction of models that would be of real use for planners of aircraft routes.


AGU is providing free, open access to the journal Space Weather from its launch, planned for 28 October, through 31 March 2004. The journal will include technical articles, news items, feature stories, editorials, and opinion articles. A quarterly paper edition will print a selection of the material previously published online. Space Weather may be found at http://www.agu.org/journals/spaceweather. For further information, see AGU Press Release 03-05 at http://www.agu.org/sci_soc/prrl/prrl0305.html

Harvey Leifert | AGU
Further information:
http://www.agu.org/sci_soc/prrl/prrl0305.html
http://www.agu.org/

More articles from Transportation and Logistics:

nachricht Tool helps cities to plan electric bus routes, and calculate the benefits
09.01.2017 | International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)

nachricht Realistic training for extreme flight conditions
28.12.2016 | Technical University of Munich (TUM)

All articles from Transportation and Logistics >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Traffic jam in empty space

New success for Konstanz physicists in studying the quantum vacuum

An important step towards a completely new experimental access to quantum physics has been made at University of Konstanz. The team of scientists headed by...

Im Focus: How gut bacteria can make us ill

HZI researchers decipher infection mechanisms of Yersinia and immune responses of the host

Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...

Im Focus: Interfacial Superconductivity: Magnetic and superconducting order revealed simultaneously

Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.

While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...

Im Focus: Studying fundamental particles in materials

Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales

Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...

Im Focus: Designing Architecture with Solar Building Envelopes

Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.

As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Sustainable Water use in Agriculture in Eastern Europe and Central Asia

19.01.2017 | Event News

12V, 48V, high-voltage – trends in E/E automotive architecture

10.01.2017 | Event News

2nd Conference on Non-Textual Information on 10 and 11 May 2017 in Hannover

09.01.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Helmholtz International Fellow Award for Sarah Amalia Teichmann

20.01.2017 | Awards Funding

An innovative high-performance material: biofibers made from green lacewing silk

20.01.2017 | Materials Sciences

Ion treatments for cardiac arrhythmia — Non-invasive alternative to catheter-based surgery

20.01.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>