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 Variable speed limits could reduce crashes, ease congestion in highway work zones
07.06.2017 | University of Missouri-Columbia

nachricht Experiments show that a few self-driving cars can dramatically improve traffic flow
10.05.2017 | University of Illinois College of Engineering

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: Can we see monkeys from space? Emerging technologies to map biodiversity

An international team of scientists has proposed a new multi-disciplinary approach in which an array of new technologies will allow us to map biodiversity and the risks that wildlife is facing at the scale of whole landscapes. The findings are published in Nature Ecology and Evolution. This international research is led by the Kunming Institute of Zoology from China, University of East Anglia, University of Leicester and the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research.

Using a combination of satellite and ground data, the team proposes that it is now possible to map biodiversity with an accuracy that has not been previously...

Im Focus: Climate satellite: Tracking methane with robust laser technology

Heatwaves in the Arctic, longer periods of vegetation in Europe, severe floods in West Africa – starting in 2021, scientists want to explore the emissions of the greenhouse gas methane with the German-French satellite MERLIN. This is made possible by a new robust laser system of the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen, which achieves unprecedented measurement accuracy.

Methane is primarily the result of the decomposition of organic matter. The gas has a 25 times greater warming potential than carbon dioxide, but is not as...

Im Focus: How protons move through a fuel cell

Hydrogen is regarded as the energy source of the future: It is produced with solar power and can be used to generate heat and electricity in fuel cells. Empa researchers have now succeeded in decoding the movement of hydrogen ions in crystals – a key step towards more efficient energy conversion in the hydrogen industry of tomorrow.

As charge carriers, electrons and ions play the leading role in electrochemical energy storage devices and converters such as batteries and fuel cells. Proton...

Im Focus: A unique data centre for cosmological simulations

Scientists from the Excellence Cluster Universe at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich have establised "Cosmowebportal", a unique data centre for cosmological simulations located at the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ) of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences. The complete results of a series of large hydrodynamical cosmological simulations are available, with data volumes typically exceeding several hundred terabytes. Scientists worldwide can interactively explore these complex simulations via a web interface and directly access the results.

With current telescopes, scientists can observe our Universe’s galaxies and galaxy clusters and their distribution along an invisible cosmic web. From the...

Im Focus: Scientists develop molecular thermometer for contactless measurement using infrared light

Temperature measurements possible even on the smallest scale / Molecular ruby for use in material sciences, biology, and medicine

Chemists at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) in cooperation with researchers of the German Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM)...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Plants are networkers

19.06.2017 | Event News

Digital Survival Training for Executives

13.06.2017 | Event News

Global Learning Council Summit 2017

13.06.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Supersensitive through quantum entanglement

28.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy under real ambient pressure conditions

28.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Mice provide insight into genetics of autism spectrum disorders

28.06.2017 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>