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 From parking garage to smart multi-purpose garage
19.07.2017 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Arbeitswirtschaft und Organisation IAO

nachricht Efficient and intelligent: Drones get to grips with planning the delivery of goods
12.07.2017 | Alpen-Adria-Universität Klagenfurt

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: Manipulating Electron Spins Without Loss of Information

Physicists have developed a new technique that uses electrical voltages to control the electron spin on a chip. The newly-developed method provides protection from spin decay, meaning that the contained information can be maintained and transmitted over comparatively large distances, as has been demonstrated by a team from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics and the Swiss Nanoscience Institute. The results have been published in Physical Review X.

For several years, researchers have been trying to use the spin of an electron to store and transmit information. The spin of each electron is always coupled...

Im Focus: The proton precisely weighted

What is the mass of a proton? Scientists from Germany and Japan successfully did an important step towards the most exact knowledge of this fundamental constant. By means of precision measurements on a single proton, they could improve the precision by a factor of three and also correct the existing value.

To determine the mass of a single proton still more accurate – a group of physicists led by Klaus Blaum and Sven Sturm of the Max Planck Institute for Nuclear...

Im Focus: On the way to a biological alternative

A bacterial enzyme enables reactions that open up alternatives to key industrial chemical processes

The research team of Prof. Dr. Oliver Einsle at the University of Freiburg's Institute of Biochemistry has long been exploring the functioning of nitrogenase....

Im Focus: The 1 trillion tonne iceberg

Larsen C Ice Shelf rift finally breaks through

A one trillion tonne iceberg - one of the biggest ever recorded -- has calved away from the Larsen C Ice Shelf in Antarctica, after a rift in the ice,...

Im Focus: Laser-cooled ions contribute to better understanding of friction

Physics supports biology: Researchers from PTB have developed a model system to investigate friction phenomena with atomic precision

Friction: what you want from car brakes, otherwise rather a nuisance. In any case, it is useful to know as precisely as possible how friction phenomena arise –...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Closing the Sustainability Circle: Protection of Food with Biobased Materials

21.07.2017 | Event News

»We are bringing Additive Manufacturing to SMEs«

19.07.2017 | Event News

The technology with a feel for feelings

12.07.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

NASA looks to solar eclipse to help understand Earth's energy system

21.07.2017 | Earth Sciences

Stanford researchers develop a new type of soft, growing robot

21.07.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Vortex photons from electrons in circular motion

21.07.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>