Tag Archives: radiation

Highest-Energy Cosmic Radiation Comes From a Mysterious Source Beyond Our Galaxy

Not to scare you, but you’re getting hit with radiation constantly. First, there’s just regular old light (yep, that’s a kind of radiation). Then there are low levels of higher energy radiation like the kind in nuclear reactors, including particles coming out of the soil and off of bananas. But the highest-energy radiation is the weirdest stuff. It’s literally out of this galaxy.

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Mars astronauts at greater risk of cancer than previously thought

You might not want to book that trip to Mars just yet. Researchers have published a study estimating that the risk of cancer from cosmic rays is twice as high as previously thought. They’ve determined that conventional risk models are incomplete. While NASA and other groups believe that radiation-based cancer stems only from direct cell damage and mutations, the new model accounts for the possibility that heavily damaged cells will increase the cancer risk for “bystander” cells. There’s a knock-on effect that would be difficult to escape.

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Earth’s radio signals may be protecting it from space radiation

The Earth’s atmosphere bears precious little resemblance to what it looked like at the start of the Industrial Revolution. As radio technology has advanced and spread, the signals that transmitters produce — specifically the Very Low Frequency (VLF) variety — have changed the way that the upper atmosphere and the Van Allen Radiation Belts interact, according to a study recently published in the journal Space Science Reviews. In effect, these radio waves may be enveloping the globe like an electromagnetic comforter, protecting it from satellite-frying space radiation.

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Excessive Radiation Inside Fukushima Fries Clean-up Robot

A remotely-controlled robot sent to inspect and clean a damaged reactor at Japan’s Fukushima nuclear plant had to be pulled early when its onboard camera went dark, the result of excess radiation. The abbreviated mission suggests that radiation levels inside the reactor are even higher than was reported last week—and that robots are going to have a hell of a time cleaning this mess up.

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DEEP SPACE TRAVEL COULD DAMAGE ASTRONAUTS’ BRAINS

On a mission to Mars, future astronauts will have to leave the protection of Earth’s magnetic field. As they head into deep space, high-energy galactic cosmic rays will pass through the hull of their ship and into their bodies. This might have dangerous—and lasting—consequences for the astronauts’ health.

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WHAT DO YOU DO WITH 34 METRIC TONS OF WEAPONS-GRADE PLUTONIUM?

When the United States broke off cease-fire talks with Russia over the war in Syria (after the Russian air force continued to bomb civilians in Aleppo), Russian President Vladimir Putin retaliated by suspending a nearly two-decades old arms agreement to get rid of his country’s extra weapons-grade plutonium.

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