How NASA Will Protect Astronauts From Space Radiation at the Moon

From NASA

August 1972, as NASA scientist Ian Richardson remembers it, was hot. In Surrey, England, where he grew up, the fields were brown and dry, and people tried to stay indoors — out of the Sun, televisions on. But for several days that month, his TV picture kept breaking up. “Do not adjust your set,” he recalls the BBC announcing. “Heat isn’t causing the interference. It’s sunspots.”

The same sunspots that disrupted the television signals led to enormous solar flares — powerful bursts of energy from the Sun — Aug. 4-7 that year. Between the Apollo 16 and 17 missions, the solar eruptions were a near miss for lunar explorers. Had they been in orbit or on the Moon’s surface, they could have experienced high levels of radiation sparked by the eruptions. Today, the Apollo-era flares serve as a reminder of the threat of radiation exposure to technology and astronauts in space. Understanding and predicting solar eruptions is crucial for safe space exploration.

Almost 50 years since those 1972 storms, the data, technology and resources available to NASA have improved, enabling advancements towards space weather forecasts and astronaut protection — key to NASA’s Artemis program to return astronauts to the Moon.

Space radiation is a key factor for astronaut safety as they venture to the Moon. NASA is exploring a variety of techniques and technology to mitigate different types of radiation during space travel.

Credits: NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center/Joy Ng

Download this video and related multimedia in HD formats from NASA Goddard’s Scientific Visualization Studio

Space isn’t empty

Today, Richardson is a scientist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. He studies high-energy particles that burst from the Sun in the wake of giant solar eruptions.

In addition to flares, huge clouds — called coronal mass ejections — containing a billion tons of solar material occasionally blast from the solar surface. Increasingly, scientists think coronal mass ejections play a dominant role in driving the Sun’s most powerful radiation: solar energetic particles, or SEPs.

Earth is at the center of a vast blue, comet-shaped bubble.

Earth’s magnetic bubble, called the magnetosphere, is illustrated in blue. The magnetosphere provides natural protection against space radiation, deflecting most charged solar particles from Earth. Credits: Andøya Space Center/Trond Abrahamsen Download this illustration in HD formats from NASA Goddard’s Scientific Visualization Studio

SEPs are almost all protons, flung at such high speeds that some reach Earth, 93 million miles away, in less than an hour. “When a high-speed boat goes through water, you can see the wave ahead of it,” Richardson said. “The shock waves ahead of fast coronal mass ejections accelerate particles before them.”

Radiation is energy packaged in electromagnetic waves or carried by particles. The energy is handed off when the wave or particle runs into something else, like an astronaut or spacecraft component. SEPs are dangerous because they pass right through skin, shedding energy and fragmenting cells or DNA on their way. This damage can increase risk for cancer later in life, or in extreme cases, cause acute radiation sickness in the short-term.

On Earth, humans are safe from this harm. Earth’s protective magnetic bubble, called the magnetosphere, deflects most solar particles. The atmosphere also quells any particles that do make it through. The International Space Station cruises through low-Earth orbit, within Earth’s protection, and the station’s hull helps shield crew members from radiation too.

But beyond Earth’s magnetic reach, human explorers can face the harsh radiation of space.

“The danger of radiation is always present, whether you’re in orbit, in transit, or on a planetary surface,” said Ruthan Lewis, a Goddard architect and engineer for NASA’s human spaceflight program. “From mitigation techniques to protection and enclosures, we’re considering this in every environment astronauts will be in.”

Space lifeguards
Two women wearing hard hats are in small bay of a spacecraft, surrounded by storage bags.

Jessica Vos (foreground), deputy health and medical technical authority for Orion, and astronaut Anne McClain (background) demonstrate the radiation protection plan in a representative Orion spacecraft. During an SEP event, the crew will use stowage bags on board Orion to create a dense shelter from radiation. Credits: NASA Orion Backstage: Evaluating Radiation Protection Plans for Astronauts

In a room filled with expansive computer screens and blinking lights at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, scientists work daily shifts to monitor space weather conditions for astronauts on the space station. Known as space environment officers, they’re the lifeguards of space: Instead of tidal waves and rip currents, they keep watch for the ebb and flow of space radiation.

Each day, the scientists — who are part of Johnson’s Space Radiation Analysis Group — check the space weather forecast from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Space Weather Prediction Center. They alert mission control of potential solar activity. If solar energetic particles are ramping up and the space station happens to be passing outside Earth’s magnetic protection, they might recommend postponing activities that require leaving the safety of the station. Anywhere astronauts go, the group will keep watch over their space environment.

During a future Artemis mission, if a solar radiation squall were to occur while astronauts are beyond Earth’s magnetic bubble, they might tell the crew to build a temporary shelter. “Our strategy in space is to make use of whatever mass is available,” Johnson scientist Kerry Lee said. “We’re redistributing mass to fill in areas that are thinly shielded and getting crew members closer to the heavily shielded areas.”

The more mass between the crew and radiation, the more likely that dangerous particles will deposit their energy before reaching the crew. On the Moon, astronauts could pile lunar soil, or regolith, over their shelters, taking advantage of their environment’s natural shielding materials. But where spacecraft design is concerned, relying on sheer bulk for protection soon grows expensive, since more mass requires more fuel to launch.

The Johnson team works on developing shielding methods without adding more material. “It’s unlikely that we’re going to be able to fly dedicated radiation-shielding mass,” Lee said. “Every item you fly will have to be multi-purpose.”

For the Orion spacecraft, they’ve designed a plan for astronauts to build a temporary shelter with existing materials on hand, including storage units already on board or food and water supplies. If the Sun erupted with another storm as strong as the Apollo era’s, the Orion crew would be safe and sound.

Other teams across NASA are meeting the radiation challenge with creative solutions, developing technology such as wearable vests and devices that add mass, and electrically charged surfaces that deflect radiation.

Here come the Sun’s energetic particles

Protecting astronauts from solar energetic particle storms requires knowing when such a storm will occur. But the particle flurries are fickle and difficult to predict. The nature of the Sun’s turbulent eruptions is not yet perfectly understood.

“Ideally, you could look at an active region on the Sun, see how it’s evolving, and try to predict when it’s going to erupt,” Richardson said. “The problem is, even if you could forecast flares and coronal mass ejections, only a small fraction actually spawn the particles that are hazardous to astronauts.”

The Aug. 7, 1972, solar flare was captured by the Big Bear Solar Observatory in California. This particular flare — known as the seahorse flare for the shape of the bright regions — sparked a strong SEP event that could have been harmful to astronauts if an Apollo mission had been in progress at the time. Credits: NASA

The Aug. 7, 1972, solar flare was captured by the Big Bear Solar Observatory in California. This particular flare — known as the seahorse flare for the shape of the bright regions — sparked a strong SEP event that could have been harmful to astronauts if an Apollo mission had been in progress at the time. Credits: NASA

https://solarscience.msfc.nasa.gov/flares.shtml

And, if SEPs do come, it’s hard to predict where they will go. Magnetic field lines are a highway for the charged particles, but as the Sun rotates, the roadways spiral. Some particles are knocked off-road by kinks in the field lines. As a result, they may spread far and wide through the solar system, in a vast, nebulous cloud.

“We still have a long way to go to get to the same position as weather forecasting on Earth,” said Yari Collado-Vega, a scientist at the Community Coordinated Modeling Center, or CCMC, which is housed at Goddard. The CCMC is a multi-partnership agency dedicated to space weather modeling and research. “This has to do with the fact that we just don’t have as many data sets on the Sun.”

Models to predict when SEPs will arrive are in the early stages of development. One uses the arrival of lighter and faster electrons to forecast the torrent of heavier protons that follow, which are more dangerous.

Scientists depend on NASA’s heliophysics missions to advance their space weather forecasting models. It helps to have spacecraft at different vantage points between the Sun and Earth. Launched in 2018, NASA’s Parker Solar Probe is flying closer to the Sun than any spacecraft before it. The spacecraft will track SEPs near their origins — key to solving how solar eruptions accelerate particles.

Timing is a factor too. The Sun swings through 11-year cycles of high and low activity. During solar maximum, the Sun is freckled with sunspots, regions of high magnetic tension that are ripe for eruption. During solar minimum, when there are little to no sunspots, eruptions are rare.

While scientists continue to improve their models, NASA’s heliophysics spacecraft do currently provide the observations that NASA needs to give astronauts an “all-clear” — the okay to conduct mission activity. If there are no active sunspots on the Sun, they can reliably say there won’t be a solar squall.

Radiation from next-door galaxies

A second kind of space radiation travels even farther than solar energetic particles. Galactic cosmic rays — particles from long-gone, exploded stars elsewhere in the Milky Way — constantly bombard the solar system at near-light speeds. If solar energetic particles are a sudden downpour, galactic cosmic rays are more like a steady drizzle. But a drizzle can be a nuisance too.

The solar system is at the center of two large purple bubbles representing the heliosphere. Golden streaks bounce throughout.

This animated image shows the solar system and the Sun’s magnetic bubble, called the heliosphere, that extends far beyond it. Bright streaks represent cosmic rays. During solar maximum, as the heliosphere strengthens, it blocks more cosmic rays. Credits: NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center/Conceptual Image Lab Download this visualization in HD formats from NASA Goddard’s Scientific Visualization Studio

Cosmic rays tend to be more powerful than even the most energetic solar particles. The same spacecraft that would shield a crew from solar energetic particles would not be able to keep cosmic rays at bay, so cosmic rays are a serious concern, especially for long-duration missions like the journey to Mars, which will take six to 10 months each way.

While SEPs are tricky to predict, galactic cosmic rays come at a steady rate. In one second, some 90 cosmic rays strike a pocket of space the size of a golf ball. (Meanwhile, during an SEP shower, there could be 1,000 more particles ripping through that golf-ball-sized space.) This rate helps determine radiation limits and mission durations — NASA’s leading strategy to limiting cosmic ray exposure. NASA tracks astronauts’ individual doses to ensure they don’t breach lifetime limits.

Cosmic rays are comprised of heavy elements like helium, oxygen or iron. The hefty particles knock apart atoms when they collide with something, whether an astronaut or the thick metal walls of a spacecraft. The impact sets off a shower of more particles called secondary radiation — adding to the health concern of cosmic rays.

Cosmic ray exposure is also related to the solar cycle. In the relative calm of solar minimum, cosmic rays easily infiltrate the Sun’s magnetic field. But during solar maximum, the Sun’s magnetic bubble strengthens with increased solar activity, turning away some of the galactic visitors who come knocking.

Destination: Moon, then Mars

Going to the Moon will help NASA collect crucial data and develop the necessary tools and strategies to one day safely send human explorers to Mars. The journey to Mars will take much longer than a trip to the Moon, and crew members will face much more radiation exposure. And, unlike Earth, Mars has no magnetic field to divert radiation.

“One of the reasons we’re going to the Moon is in preparation for Mars,” Lewis said. Sustained lunar exploration will help determine whether we have the technology needed to protect astronauts on longer-term space travel. “We’ve done a lot of simulations. Now we’re going to start cutting metal.”

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104 thoughts on “How NASA Will Protect Astronauts From Space Radiation at the Moon

    • No, they took a gamble that these rare events wouldn’t happen or wouldn’t eject a mass in the direction of the Apollo astronauts.

    • They even took a bit of a gamble on the Van Allen Radiation Belts. They plotted the flight trajectories through the weakest regions and were reasonably confident that the skin and instrument panels of the Command Module would provide adequate protection because they were transiting the belts at high velocity.

      However, the astronauts who made lunar flights do appear to have suffered radiation-related health issues…

      https://www.nature.com/articles/srep29901

      • David Middleton
        August 8, 2019 at 5:34 am

        Yes, but the data from the article (table 1) seems to show that the lunar astronauts lived significantly longer than the low earth orbit ones (65 vs 56 years). However, sample numbers are low so perhaps that’s an artifact?

        Interestingly both groups of astronauts who actually got into space lived longer than their colleagues who never flew as they had an average age at death of only 53 years.

        But to me as a non-medical layman that seem like a huge protective effect!

        • To make that conclusion would assume that space travel was the only factor regarding longevity. Astronaut selection during the early years was very rigorous with emphasis on all sorts of physical attributes. Its entirely possible that the selection merely chose the most physiologically superior human test subjects. As the actual data regarding space flight accumulated they realized they were overly restricting candidates based upon unnecessary characteristics (they tested the motility of their sperm!) and therefore began to relax the acceptance criteria. While the new candidates were still exception physical specimens they were not the same caliber as the first astronauts.
          Be carful to not discount the null hypothesis.

          • That’s an average age at death for Astronauts. Being an astronaut is a very dangerous occupation and many of them engaged in dangerous activities (Test pilot – for example) before, during and after their involvement in the astronaut program. I wonder how many astronauts may have died in accidents, of one sort or another, that would skew the numbers a bit to the lower side for the group that never made it to space? For the time period being referenced, there were not that many so, even a handful of accidental deaths would have a significant impact.

            Max

          • During Apollo one of the astronauts was killed while flying a trainer jet. Not sure if the death was attributed to space mission casualties.

        • The life expectancy of test pilots tends to be on the short side… None of the Apollo astronauts who flew to the Moon were killed in T-38 crashes.

          • But Cliff Williams, who was slated to fly to the moon, was killed in a T-38 crash prior to his mission. And, there were several who died in training accidents during Gemini and Mercury.

            Two general rules for test pilots:
            1) If they didn’t want you to push a button it wouldn’t be on the instrument panel.
            2) If you don’t like what happened when you pushed a button the first time, push it again.
            (An adjunct to rule 2 is that you may not get a chance to push the button a 2nd time if it was labeled: EJECT)

          • Four astronauts were killed in T-38 crashes. Elliott See and Charles Basset were killed in a T-38 crash landing at the McDonnell aircraft factory on a trip to inspect their Gemini 9 spacecraft. Their backup crew, Gene Cernan and Tom Stafford, both flew on Apollo missions. See and Basset would have had a good shot at Apollo slots. Another two were killed in aircraft tests, 1 in an X15 and 1 in an F-104.

            These guys had dangerous jobs even when they weren’t sitting on top of rockets.

          • My point was that almost all of the astronauts who actually flew to the Moon had survived being test and/or combat pilots. I think Jack Schmitt might be the only Apollo astronaut who wasn’t a test pilot or hadn’t flown fighter/attack jets before becoming an astronaut.

      • The statistics are poor in this study. A large number of study subjects died in accidental deaths, due to the hazards of the occupation. Almost 50% of the LEO astronauts died in accidents, well before cardiovascular disease would manifest; while the 43% of the lunar astronauts dying from CVD is basically just 3 out of 7 subjects.

        • It is a limited sample… Only 12 men walked on the Moon out of the 27 who made the round-trip.

          • Only 24 made the round trip. 3 went twice – Gene Cernan, John Young and James Lovell. Jim never walked on the lunar surface so he was always rather upset. Tom Hanks portrayed him in a film about his failure – Apollo 13.

            I had always assumed that American heroes and other respected citizens are accorded the honour of burial at Arlington National Cemetery, yet Neil Armstrong is not one of them. He chose burial at sea off the coast of Florida, which for a navy pilot may be appropriate, but for the First Man seems rather churlish.

      • They took a gamble? Is that the same as the ‘luck of Apollo’ as a means of avoiding the radiation?

        The Apollo trajectories were straight through the belts, TLI was over the Pacific. The ‘fake news’ that those mysterious polar trajectories are now claimed to be how the worst of the radiation was avoided is due to the continual challenges to NASA to explain how radiation was allegedly such a small problem. In reality radiation is the show-stopper of human space travel.

        When Prof James van Allen, after whom those belts are named, first flew a geiger counter through them the readings were so high it was declared that ‘space is radio active’. Not a great place for humans to be for any length of time, especially without any known protection.

        • Here I use the exact flight path. It is described in §VII. The flight to the Moon and the flight back to the Earth are calculated separately.

          The following two figures show the path through the radiation belt, the closer part with mainly protons and the more distant part with mainly electrons. On the top there is the path to the Moon, on the bottom the return to the Earth. The small red circles are points of the trajectory as they are given in the “Apollo 11 Mission Report“ [11]. Additionally in Fig. 8 the associated manoeuvres are indicated.

          Surprisingly the flipping manoeuvre of the Lunar Module (LM) (between CM/S-IVB Separation and Docking) is in the area of the maximum radiation.

          The small blue circles are points which have been used to draw the trajectory in Fig. 7 and Fig. 8. These circles are often entry or exit points of radiation zones (see TABLE II. below).

          Comparing these two figures with the ones in the previous chapter one recognises that the flight path obviously crosses the Van Allen radiation belt quite exactly at its maximum inclination. The trajectory is slightly above the ecliptic and circumvents the central region even better.

          Also the return path is more favourable. Here the fact helps that the Moon was at the time of the departure from the Moon already 2° below the ecliptic.

          […]

          Märki, 2018

          Pages from 1805.01643

          Combining the trajectory and velocity an effective shielding equivalent of 7 mm of aluminum would yield a total mission exposure of about 0.2 rads for the Apollo 11 astronauts. The aluminum skin of the command module was 4 mm thick. The instrumentation lining the inside of the skin and the astronauts’ space suits afforded the additional protection.

           

          Apollo Radiation

          SP-368 Biomedical Results of Apollo

           

          • Thank you for your most comprehensive response. I appreciate the information you have provided. However, as it all appears to have originated from NASA, I have a real problem accepting it as unbiased and of demonstrable scientific validity.

            The trajectories shown appear to indicate an exit from Earth via the polar region. That couldn’t be achieved from the near equatorial orbit into which Apollo was launched without a huge use of fuel which was not carried. There is no record of any polar type exit in any documentation available. It is a recent invention, by NASA and its supporters, to attempt to explain how the radiation in the VABs was avoided. So far without very much agreement.

            When a journalist approached NASA to obtain the internal radiation readings from the Dec 2014 unmanned test of the new Orion capsule (Apollo 2.0) after it was sent 3,600 miles out from Earth and then returned – only through the inner VAB – he was told the information was ‘classified’. Why?

            What possible reason could there be to refuse to release it? Unless, of course, it was significantly at variance with the reported radiation levels from Apollo. This would appear to be yet another case of NASA continuing to give Never A Straight Answer…

          • All of the information about the Apollo mission flight plans, biomedical data, etc. by definition come from NASA.

            The parking orbit wasn’t even close to “near-equatorial”… The trans lunar injection burn took them out of Earth orbit over the southern tip of South America.

            The Van Allen belt diagrams are not oriented N-S. They are x-y plots.

            When a journalist approached NASA to obtain the internal radiation readings from the Dec 2014 unmanned test of the new Orion capsule (Apollo 2.0) after it was sent 3,600 miles out from Earth and then returned – only through the inner VAB – he was told the information was ‘classified’. Why?

            The data are publicly available…
            Battery-operated Independent Radiation Detector Data Report from Exploration Flight Test 1

            Artemis 1 is tentatively scheduled for 2021. It is designed to measure the VAB and its effects on two robotic “crash dummies

          • You are quoting from Nasas updated information not from th original data

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C0kxid5teUQ&t=2s

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=986Ya9vfhuE

            These links will explain things for you.

            The detectors on Orion were designed to read only a portion of the radiation no the full spectrum and in addition to that they were in closets lined with lead plus a meter of sand and water to shield them and only took a snapshot of the radiation once a minute the data generated by the document you have referred to is by a computer simulation software
            Please get your facts straight before embarrassing yourself publicly

          • Learn how to read rather than watching crackpot conspiracy theory videos…

            This report summarizes the data acquired by the Battery-operated Independent Radiation Detector (BIRD) during Exploration Flight Test 1 (EFT-1). The BIRD, consisting of two redundant subsystems isolated electronically from the Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle (MPCV), was developed to fly on the Orion EFT-1 to acquire radiation data throughout the mission. The BIRD subsystems successfully triggered using on-board accelerometers in response to launch accelerations, acquired and archived data through landing, and completed the shut down routine when battery voltage decreased to a specified value. The data acquired are important for understanding the radiation environment within the Orion MPCV during transit through the trapped radiation belts.

            The EFT-1 mission was the first opportunity to fly a Timepix-based detection system on the Orion MPCV. The Orion MPCV was launched from the Kennedy Space Center (KSC) atop a Delta IV Heavy rocket on December 5, 2014. The EFT-1 trajectory (shown in Figure 2) included two orbits: one low altitude orbit, and one highly eccentric orbit with an apogee of almost 6000 km. Although the primary mission objectives were to test the thermal protection system, hardware separation events, and the parachute system [17], the Orion MPCV passed through trapped electron regions and encountered intense regions of the trapped proton belts as a result of this flight profile. Radiation measurements in these regions are key to understanding astronaut radiation exposure in the Orion MPCV during trapped proton belt transit and comparing the trapped proton belt models with measurements.

            4.2.2 Dosimetry Rates
            Absorbed dose rates and dose equivalent rates for EFT-1 are provided in Figure 12 and Figure 13, respectively. There are two large peaks in the absorbed dose rate plot; they occur between approximately 14:10 UTC to 14:20 UTC and 15:20 UTC to 16:05 UTC. The occupancy during the first peak rarely exceeded 5%, but occupancy increased to greater than 18% during the second peak. To reiterate, occupancy is the number of pixels with recorded energy deposition normalized by the total number of pixels in a frame, and at large occupancies, there are many overlapping particle tracks. These overlaps do not affect the calculation of absorbed dose, but they do affect the calculation of dose equivalent.

            4.3 Accumulated Dose
            Cumulative absorbed dose during EFT-1 is provided in Figure 16; the totals for the mission are located in Table 1.

          • How does that support any of the moronic nonsense you posted?

            Reading actually is superior to trolling…

            Learn how to read rather than watching crackpot conspiracy theory videos…

            This report summarizes the data acquired by the Battery-operated Independent Radiation Detector (BIRD) during Exploration Flight Test 1 (EFT-1). The BIRD, consisting of two redundant subsystems isolated electronically from the Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle (MPCV), was developed to fly on the Orion EFT-1 to acquire radiation data throughout the mission. The BIRD subsystems successfully triggered using on-board accelerometers in response to launch accelerations, acquired and archived data through landing, and completed the shut down routine when battery voltage decreased to a specified value. The data acquired are important for understanding the radiation environment within the Orion MPCV during transit through the trapped radiation belts.

            The EFT-1 mission was the first opportunity to fly a Timepix-based detection system on the Orion MPCV. The Orion MPCV was launched from the Kennedy Space Center (KSC) atop a Delta IV Heavy rocket on December 5, 2014. The EFT-1 trajectory (shown in Figure 2) included two orbits: one low altitude orbit, and one highly eccentric orbit with an apogee of almost 6000 km. Although the primary mission objectives were to test the thermal protection system, hardware separation events, and the parachute system [17], the Orion MPCV passed through trapped electron regions and encountered intense regions of the trapped proton belts as a result of this flight profile. Radiation measurements in these regions are key to understanding astronaut radiation exposure in the Orion MPCV during trapped proton belt transit and comparing the trapped proton belt models with measurements.

            4.2.2 Dosimetry Rates
            Absorbed dose rates and dose equivalent rates for EFT-1 are provided in Figure 12 and Figure 13, respectively. There are two large peaks in the absorbed dose rate plot; they occur between approximately 14:10 UTC to 14:20 UTC and 15:20 UTC to 16:05 UTC. The occupancy during the first peak rarely exceeded 5%, but occupancy increased to greater than 18% during the second peak. To reiterate, occupancy is the number of pixels with recorded energy deposition normalized by the total number of pixels in a frame, and at large occupancies, there are many overlapping particle tracks. These overlaps do not affect the calculation of absorbed dose, but they do affect the calculation of dose equivalent.

            4.3 Accumulated Dose
            Cumulative absorbed dose during EFT-1 is provided in Figure 16; the totals for the mission are located in Table 1.

          • Making crackpot conspiracy theory videos is actually worse than watching them.

            That is [Billy Madison × Art Bell = Bat Schist Crazy] quality material.

            Wet flag?

          • Scott Henderson commented on How NASA Will Protect Astronauts From Space Radiation at the Moon.

            I se that you have provide a vey poor quality photo of the wet flag.

            For those who are interested use this link and download the photo for yourself to examine. In the blue panel of the flag the water is very apparent.

            Scott , you are effing nuts.

            1) Go look up the guys who plotted the Doppler shift of the S-band radio signal coming from the Command Module as it orbitted the moon … pretty damned hard (impossible) to fake.

            2) Or, go look up where the guy RECEIVED DIRECT the signals from the back packs of the astronauts AS THEY WALKED ON THE MOON.

            I’ll bet you’re unaware these ‘cases’ exist, because, you ONLY look at a few selected elements comprised of a limited number of PHOTOGRAPHS.

            Broaden your horizons; get a degree, get a job and become part of the REAL world (IOW, get out of your mother’s basement and experience some REAL tech for yourself for a change.)

          • Scott – SCOTT!! – On the page below Sven describes how they monitored the comms from Apollo 17.

            In particular, at one point, they monitored the S-band radio system on the command module as it orbited the moon and recorded the Doppler shift IN FREQUENCY of that S-band radio system due to radial velocity changes (in line to the earth) as they orbited around the moon. Here is there web page, describing their monitoring of Apollo 17 comms:

            Tracking Apollo-17 from Florida

            http://www.svengrahn.pp.se/trackind/Apollo17/APOLLO17.htm

            Excerpt: On December 10, 1972 we picked up our first signals on S-band. The main carrier was 45 dB over noise and the voice subcarrier was 25 dB over noise. Apollo 17 passed. over the lunar disc between 1722 and 1819.10 local time (2222-2319 UT), and during these 57 minutes we measured a total Doppler frequency shift of 43 kHz (see figure below). The frequency numbers on the ordinate is the dial reading on the R-390 receiver minus 29000 kHz.

            The spacecraft had entered orbit at 1447.23 local time (1947.23 UT), Initially the orbit was 97.4-314.8 km. The orbital period was then 128.2 minutes and the spacecraft would be seen from the earth for about 80 minutes. We clearly did not pick up the signal as the spacecraft appeared from behind the Moon. The doppler curve below is indeed not perfectly symmetrical which most probably is the result of the eccentricity of the orbit.

            Link to Doppler graph:
            Apollo17Doppler.gif

          • Jim

            I want you to look at the wet flag, study it, take your time and look at the other photos in that series

            Radio waves were used to map the Van Allen belts because they bounce off.
            So how can they listen to signals that can’t get through?

        • “In reality radiation is the show-stopper of human space travel.”

          Yes, I’ve concluded the same. It only logically explains why no one, i.e. not one single mission, in now over 50 years has even attempted to go through the Van Allen belts. They simply won’t do it, yet for Apollo it was non-issue, i.e. no problem whatsoever. It makes no sense.

          There was a women who witnessed an interview with two Russian astronauts, and when they were asked why Russia never went to the Moon their immediate reply was (speaking in a heavy Russian accent)…”Can’t get through the radiation belt…you know a-we-don’t-a have a Hollywood (and they both looked at each other and chuckled)”.

          It’s suspicious enough that no one has gone back to the Moon in now over 50 years, but it should be even far more suspicious that no one has even attempted the first leg of the mission in now over 50 years, which is to go through the Van Allen belts; and which are just above the Earth. It doesn’t make sense, but people can’t or just don’t want to accept they were fooled and the missions were faked.

          Now, the radiation problem may eventually be solved, but it’s clearly a big problem they’re still working on. Which again, makes no sense given what they allegedly did 50 years ago with virtually no protection.

          • Good fracking grief… The Apollo missions flew flight trajectories through the thinnest, weakest areas of the VAB… Yet the astronauts did receive fairly significant radiation doses, which appear to have negatively affected their health. The first test flight of Orion flew right into the thickest area and measured far higher radiation doses than the Apollo missions.

    • It was, and they concluded the risk was too high, which made it just one more reason to fake the Apollo missions in order to guarantee their success.

        • They may have, but this study does not make that case very well. It is based on 3 out of 7 lunar astronauts dying of cardiovascular disease. This simply is an inadequate sample to make such a sweeping remark. Five more (of the 24 total) have died since the study was published.

          The three who dies of a cardiac-related causer were Evans (age 56), Irwin (age 61, with possible pre-existing cardiac issues; i.e., prior to space flight); Armstrong (age 82). There was no attempt to discuss other confounding factors – i.e., genetics, smoking, etc.

          • The point was that the Apollo astronauts who flew to the Moon experienced elevated radiation exposure, which was captured in their dosimeters.

      • I’m sorry, but I spend a considerable amount of time studying and critically analyzing this recently and, to my surprise, I had no other choice but to conclude all of the Apollo missions that claimed to have left low Earth orbit were nearly certainly faked.

        You can say horse…whatever, but I’m highly confident they were faked.

        • Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter

          Apollo 17 lading site…

          Apollo 12 landing site…

          Apollo 14 landing site…

          Then there’s geology… The mineralogy of the rocks and regolith brought back to earth by the Apollo astronauts is consistent with the mineralogy of samples brought back by Luna 16, an unmanned Soviet spacecraft. While the mineralogy is similar in some ways to volcanic rocks on Earth, it’s very different in many ways.

          V. L. Barsukov, M. A. Nazarav & L. S. Tarasov (1982) Moon rock mineralogy, International Geology Review, 24:2, 238-248, DOI: 10.1080/00206818209452398

          Barsukov was a Soviet geologist.

          How Do We Know That It’s a Rock from the Moon?

          • Those LRO pictures were taken in 2009 from a lunar orbit lowered to about 25 kms (15 miles) above the surface with 21st century technology using a camera which had a resolution of .5 m/pixel, shooting through the vacuum of space. Yet all that is visible are a few pixels which NASA have helpfully captioned using large arrows so we know what we are supposed to be looking at.

            Now look at a google earth image of your own house, possibly with a car parked outside. It will be in colour and was taken from an orbiting satellite at a height of 650 kms (400 miles) shooting through the vacuum of space but also 70 miles of the distortion and pollution of our atmosphere. Yet details are clearly visible, even people walking along the sidewalks.

            The LM is the size of a pick-up truck but no details are evident and those alleged footprints appear to be made by giants – they are almost as wide as the lander. Those photographs are not, in my opinion, any sort of proof that humans have landed on and walked across the lunar surface. Too many questions are as yet unaddressed by NASA.

            As Carl Sagan so memorably said, ‘extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence’. It is an extraordinary claim to have landed humans on the Moon but the extraordinary evidence in support of them remains, after nearly 50 years, sadly lacking.

            I do wish it were all true, as is vehemently claimed by many of NASA’s supporters, but after over 25 years of research into the subject I have yet to be convinced, in fact it is increasingly clear that the evidence does not support the facts of Apollo.

            What 3 pieces of evidence for the Moon Landings would you offer to convince me of the error of my ways?

          • That’s not how Google Earth puts together detailed photos of people’s homes. They combine satellite, aerial and street level photography.

            https://support.google.com/earth/answer/6327779?hl=en

            Companies like Google and Microsoft (for Bing Maps) don’t really use satellites to take most of the pictures for their “satellite view” imagery. They use ultra-high-resolution cameras in airplanes to take close-up pictures we’re all familiar with. They do incorporate some satellite imagery into their products (especially for zoomed-out views and those over lesser-populated areas), but most of the areas that allow you to zoom in with impressive clarity are really aerial photographs from airplanes.

            For instance, the above “satellite” view of the National Weather Service office in Greenville, SC on Bing was taken from an airplane. Likewise, the image at the top of this post of cars in a parking lot on Google Maps was taken from an airplane over Charlotte, NC.

            http://thevane.gawker.com/why-can-google-see-your-car-but-satellites-cant-clearl-1549549756

            Marcus, I don’t think there’s anything that can do to convince you. But, I have enjoyed our discussion. Although I didn’t get the trans lunar injection right in my earlier comment. It was considerably more complicated.

            As a scientist (geology/geophysics) I have seen nothing in the NASA photos, videos, mission data, that is inconsistent with the science or engineering of sending men to the Moon and back. The rocks and regolith samples brought back by the Apollo astronauts have the same basic mineralogy as the samples brought back by the unmanned Soviet probe, Luna 16. The rocks have distinctly different mineralogies than similar rocks on Earth. The rocks and regolith aren’t from Earth, they’re not meteorites and they’re consistent with the samples that the Soviet Luna 16, 20 and 24 brought back.

            http://meteorites.wustl.edu/lunar/lunar_soil/lunar_soil_composions.htm
            http://www.psrd.hawaii.edu/April04/lunarAnorthosites.html
            http://meteorites.wustl.edu/lunar/howdoweknow.htm
            https://moon.nasa.gov/resources/14/genesis-rock/

          • David,

            I think I’ve spent quite a bit more time on this than you have. I have of course seen the alleged satellite photos you posted. If you can’t see what is so obviously suspicious about them, aside from the fact they just plain look fake (the rover tracks and footprints are far to distinct, for example, especially so many decades later) then there is little hope for you. I’ll give you a hint. The moon has no atmosphere unlike the Earth, yet satellites above the Earth can get far more close up and detailed images and from much higher orbits.

            Even if some of the moon rocks are real, they don’t establish they were retrieved from manned missions to moon. Moreover, at least one of the alleged moon rocks retrieved on Apollo 11 was proven be fake, i.e. it was examined and proved to be a piece of petrified wood. Look it up. It was discovered in 2009 in Holland I think.

            All you’re doing is presuming the missions couldn’t have been faked and then just, with minimal effort, just searching out alleged confirming information. You’re not really critically analyzing anything.

            You do understand/realize that if the missions were faked, NASA isn’t going to say so, right? Or provide information about the missions that could prove they were faked, right? They’re going to try to cover it up. Duh. What this means is fairly sophisticated and unconventional techniques have to be employed in order access credibility, especially because there was and has never been any independent verification of any of it. From when the rocket disappears from view to splash down in the ocean days later, all we have to rely on is NASA and what they say happened in between. For a major landmark event/achievement in history, this is unprecedented.

            BTW, it is mostly the surrounding human behavior, including that of the astronauts themselves (which is incredibly suspicious to say the least), that is giving it away. But you have to do quite a bit of research and be a fairly sophisticated thinker in order to figure it out. But there are more than enough clues giving it away. If you take the time to find them.

          • I think I’ve spent quite a bit more time on this than you have.

            I don’t care how much time you’ve spent on not understanding basic science.

            I have of course seen the alleged satellite photos you posted. If you can’t see what is so obviously suspicious about them, aside from the fact they just plain look fake (the rover tracks and footprints are far to distinct, for example, especially so many decades later) then there is little hope for you. I’ll give you a hint. The moon has no atmosphere unlike the Earth, yet satellites above the Earth can get far more close up and detailed images and from much higher orbits.

            Landsat and other satellites “see” through the atmosphere with a combination of sensors.

            Landsat 8 measures different ranges of frequencies along the electromagnetic spectrum – a color, although not necessarily a color visible to the human eye. Each range is called a band, and Landsat 8 has 11 bands. Landsat numbers its red, green, and blue sensors as 4, 3, and 2, so when we combine them we get a true-color image such as this one:

            https://landsat.gsfc.nasa.gov/landsat-8/landsat-8-bands/

            1 Landsat 8 pixel is about 15 m across.

            Take a look at the three images below. Side by side you can see the effect of the resolution of each of the satellites. From left to right and lowest to highest resolution: NOAA/NASA Suomi NPP (375m / pixel), Landsat-8 (15m / pixel) and Worldview-3 (<1 m / pixel).

            https://www.nesdis.noaa.gov/content/can-satellites-see-you-can-you-see-satellite

            Worldview-3 is a commercially operated satellite with better than 1 m resolution.  It also “sees” through the atmosphere with a combination of sensors.

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/WorldView-3

            The Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera, or LROC, is a system of three cameras mounted on the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) that capture high resolution black and white images and moderate resolution multi-spectral images of the lunar surface.

            LROC consists of two Narrow Angle Cameras (NACs) that are designed to provide 0.5 meter-scale panchromatic images over a 5 km swath, and a Wide Angle Camera (WAC) that provides images at a scale of 100 meters/pixel in seven color bands over a 60 km swath. The Sequence and Compressor System (SCS) supports data acquisition for both cameras.

            In June of 2009, NASA launched the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, a robotic spacecraft, now orbiting the Moon at an altitude of 50-200 km. LRO’s primary objective is to make fundamental scientific discoveries about the Moon.

            https://www.lroc.asu.edu/about

            LRO’s fundamental mission was not to go take detailed photos of the Apollo landing sites… But it still took some great pictures.

            Here’s a comparison of WorldView-3 (0.3m resolution) with the LRO (0.5m resolution) image of the Apollo 17 landing site.  I reduced the WV-3 image to about the same scale as the Challenger descent stage in the the 3x enlarged and original LRO image.

            Apollo17.png

             

             

            Even if some of the moon rocks are real, they don’t establish they were retrieved from manned missions to moon. Moreover, at least one of the alleged moon rocks retrieved on Apollo 11 was proven be fake, i.e. it was examined and proved to be a piece of petrified wood. Look it up. It was discovered in 2009 in Holland I think.

            I have looked it up…

            The Rijksmuseum, more noted as a repository for 17th century Dutch paintings, announced last month it had had its plum-sized “moon” rock tested, only to discover it was a piece of petrified wood, possibly from Arizona. The museum said it inherited the rock from the estate of a former prime minister.

            The real Dutch moon rocks are in a natural history museum. But the misidentification raised questions about how well countries have safeguarded their presents from Washington.

            https://abcnews.go.com/Technology/apollo-moon-rocks-lost-space-lost-earth/story?id=8595858

            The Moon rocks were brought back to Earth in the returning capsules and immediately cataloged.  Some were studied immediately.  Others were set aside for future study.  Some, too many, were given away by President Nixon.

            The mineralogy of the Apollo regolith samples were consistent with cores returned by the Soviet Luna 16, 20 and 24 probes and not similar to  Earth soils and dirt.

            One of the objectives of the J missions was to find anorthosite.  Apollo 15 landed in the Hadley-Apenine region because geologists on Earth thought it was the best place to find anorthosite.  Dave Scott and Jim Irwin found anorthosite.  Only a person with trained eyes could specifically identify anorthosite.  Robots can’t even do this today.  The Apollo 15 astronauts were trained in Field Geology by Dr. Leon Silver of Cal Tech… specifically to be able to pick out the right types of rocks to bring back.  Lunar anorthosite is different than Earth anorthosite.

            All you’re doing is presuming the missions couldn’t have been faked and then just, with minimal effort, just searching out alleged confirming information. You’re not really critically analyzing anything.

            There’s nothing to critically analyze.  Nothing in the images, videos of mission data is at odds with either science or engineering.

            You do understand/realize that if the missions were faked, NASA isn’t going to say so, right? Or provide information about the missions that could prove they were faked, right? They’re going to try to cover it up. Duh. What this means is fairly sophisticated and unconventional techniques have to be employed in order access credibility, especially because there was and has never been any independent verification of any of it. From when the rocket disappears from view to splash down in the ocean days later, all we have to rely on is NASA and what they say happened in between. For a major landmark event/achievement in history, this is unprecedented.

            We have the rocks.  We have the descriptions of the geology as told by the astronauts on the Moon.  We have LRO photos of the landing sites.

            BTW, it is mostly the surrounding human behavior, including that of the astronauts themselves (which is incredibly suspicious to say the least), that is giving it away. But you have to do quite a bit of research and be a fairly sophisticated thinker in order to figure it out. But there are more than enough clues giving it away. If you take the time to find them.

            I’m just a geologist who worked with another geologist named Jim Reilly back in the 1980’s and early 1990’s.  Jim left the oil industry to become an astronaut in the early 1990’s.  He flew three STS missions and may have more EVA time than any other astronaut.  Dr. Reilly is currently the director of the USGS.   Jim didn’t go to the Moon, but he did introduce me to another geologist named Jack Schmitt, who did go to the Moon.  Dr. Schmitt even autographed his book, Return to the Moon, for me.  The book is basically a business plan for mining 3He on the Moon.  How do we know there’s 3He on the Moon?  It was measured in the regolith samples collected by the Apollo astronauts, with sufficient accuracy to estimate resource potential…

            https://www.lpi.usra.edu/meetings/lpsc2007/pdf/2175.pdf

            While 3He is abundant on the Moon, there’s very little of it on Earth…

            https://www.nasa.gov/feature/harnessing-power-from-the-moon

            This conspiracy would have be even bigger than the conspiracy to cover-up abiotic oil.  It would have to involve just about every field of science, almost every aerospace contractor that ever existed and just about everyone who’s ever worked for NASA.

          • David, thank you for your evident passion and knowledge of geology and your obvious commitment to Project Apollo. My personal expertise is photography, the cameras used on Apollo and examination of the resultant images. All of which are widely known and available.

            I have learned from you. I trust that is reciprocated otherwise we will continue to talk at each other rather than communicating to achieve understanding.

            I wish you well and will continue to read your numerous posts on this superb blog.

            My thanks to Anthony and Charles the Moderator who not only insist on the highest standards, they have maintained them for the 10 years of my daily visits here. You have already changed the world, you may not yet know by how much.

          • Marcus… I have truly enjoyed our discussion and look forward to future conversations. I may even pen a post about the regolith mineralogy. And I thouroughly second your thanks to Anthony and Charles the Moderator.

          • David,

            The bottom line is the resolution of the alleged Apollo lunar satellite photographs and the detail in them is far from sufficient to determine whether they are authentic. They look fake to me, i.e. done with CGI. People have also analyzed the relative sizes of the items and found them not to match up with their documented sizes. Further evidence the images are faked.

            Regarding the discovered fake moon rock, it should be quite suspicious since it was given directly by Neil Armstrong, but people such as yourself never find it to be. Or the stake hammering sound captured by Alan Bean’s microphone on Apollo 15 in the vacuum of space on the Moon which would be impossible (since there is no sound in space). Some of the alleged explanations for it are laughable and spectacular nonsense. Instead of concluding that he/they are nearly certainly not on the Moon, they just dismiss it or except illogical arguments that try to explain it away.

            It’s all of this and things like it in addition to the surrounding human behavior (which I find incredibly suspicious for a wide variety of reasons), that convinces me with high confidence that the missions were faked. Of course, I can’t be absolutely sure and could be wrong (and hope I am wrong).

            You do realize that NASA isn’t going to reveal information (at least intentionally) that would prove or support that the missions were faked if they were faked, right? This is what makes any information from them hard to accept when it’s weighed with all of the evidence and logic (or illogic). This also means that fairly sophisticated, unconventional critical thinking and investigative techniques have to employed in order to access credibility.

            Also, I have to agree with Marcus about the alleged photography on the surface. Frankly, just by eye it looks to have been shot with electrical lighting and not in sunlight. This is especially noticeable as in many shots the surface has uneven lighting, i.e. areas significantly lighter or darker than one another. And the backgrounds into the distance do not at all appear extend out anywhere near as far as they should if they were really on the Moon. And I think correctly, Marcus points out there are far too many anomalies, inconsistences and unexplained details for them to just be dismissed as coincidence or left simply unexplained (a limited number of which would be expected and acceptable, but there are far too many of them).

            I’m sorry, given everything else so incredibly suspicious, I’m not convinced by the alleged geological evidence — assuming the dust and rock is really from the Moon — that the retrieval had to have been by man. Or even that the rock was initially retrieved from the Moon and not Moon rock that somehow found its way to Earth prior.

            Moreover, after the fake rock was discovered, they made it illegal for anyone to own a Moon rock. Do you know this? What possible reason could there be for this other than they don’t want people examining them, because they know at least many of them are fake? Again, it’s spectacular nonsense and should be arising major suspicion, but for so many it just never does. IMO, it’s because they’re not be rational and objective about it all.

          • David. This reply may be out of sequence. The reply button only seems to appear under your posts, possibly because you originated the post. Otherwise I suppose to-and-froing between commentators would be hard for Anthony and his superb moderators to monitor as well as they do now.

            When I give presentations about Apollo I use a GeoEye satellite photograph of London showing the London Eye and a nearby carpark in which all vehicles are clearly seen. I am aware that google earth uses a variety of sources for its images which is why I use a known satellite picture to make my point about the detail and visibility when compared to the LRO images of the alleged Apollo landing sites, taken just 15 miles above them.

            Surely any camera capable of .5 meter pixel resolution would have much more detail visible then is seen in the LRO pictures? It is that anomaly which I query. NASA does not address it; any challenge is dismissed with ‘we went to the Moon, the evidence is in the photographs’. Frankly, that is not a good enough response to a genuine question.

            One final point about that ‘rock’ given to the Prime Minister of Holland and displayed in the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam. All rocks brought back by the Apollo 11 astronauts were, like the astronauts, placed in quarantine on their return. For astronauts it was 3 weeks in the Winnebago trialer, for the rocks 10 weeks plus locked away in quarantine at Houston, when they were supposedly being handed out like sweets to all and sundry. The label, which was not actually attached to the ‘rock’ most likely referred to a signed photograph of the astronauts. It was an honest mistake due to lack of information. Now it is just an amusing anecdote and no more.

            Kind regards, Marcus.

          • Geoeye has basically the same resolution as WorldView and uses the same combination of sensors to “see through” atmospheric effects.

            The comparison of Geoeye to LRO would be the same as WorldView.

            The LM descent stage is basically a box. It looks like a box on LROC imagery, because that’s what it is. There is no detail to be seen. The landing struts are below resolution.

  1. “We still have long way to go to get to the same position as weather forecasting on earth” Hmmmm. Speaking from the UK that does not give me a very warm feeling.

  2. But for several days that month, his TV picture kept breaking up. “Do not adjust your set,” he recalls the BBC announcing. “Heat isn’t causing the interference. It’s sunspots.”

    Let us get our facts straight here to prevent needless alarm. Yes, solar flares produce relatively brief episodes (an hour or so) of intense radiation and high energy particles, which are harmful and could present a problem for astronauts exposed to them in space. And, yes, solar flares typically originate from established regions of solar activity called “sunspots”.

    But sunspots themselves do not present any great danger to life and do not radiate much additional radiation, except in the extreme ultraviolet band (EUV), which is easily blocked by spaces suits and spacecraft walls.

    The enhanced EUV from sunspots does indeed affect radio propagation on Earth, by ionizing the upper atmosphere and changing the refractive indices and such allowing radio waves to propagate beyond the horizon.

    But the particular interference to TV signals (quoted above), which are in the VHF spectrum, are caused by a different phenomenon called sporadic E propagation, which are not caused by solar flares and only very weakly correlated to sunspots. Actually, in the Southern Hemisphere, sporadic E is negatively correlated to sunspot activity.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sporadic_E_propagation

    • Doesn’t the UK have their TV channels in the UHF portion of the spectrum?

      If so, doubtful that the effects seen on TeeVee were sporadic-E. See post at bottom of this thread for more on this subject.

      • Britain was an early implementor of TV, in the VHF channels, so was stuck with very low resolution (400 lines) for many years, while other countries introduced higher resolution (625 lines and up). Britain finally upgraded to 625 lines in the 1970’s and the 400 line was phased out in the 1980’s.

        But this was 1972, and if Ian Richardson blamed ‘sunspots’ it was surely VHF propagation.

        The typical “break-up” kind of summer-time TV interference he described only occurs in the VHF band. It is usually due to sporadic-E prop, but F-layer interference can also happen, rarely, as it did in Solar Cycle 19 (1950’s).
        The UHF band does not experience this kind of _ionospheric_ interference. But occasionally “tropospheric ducting” can occur in the VHF/UHF bands, linked to rain/thunder storms, where radio waves reflect off of _tropospheric_ layers. But this is generally less intense, smoother with less chaotic interference patterns.

        • Johanus commented on How NASA Will Protect Astronauts From Space Radiation at the Moon.

          _Jim: Doesn’t the UK have their TV channels in the UHF portion of the spectrum? If so, doubtful that the effects seen on TeeVee were sporadic-E. See post at bottom of this thread for more on this subject.

          Britain was an early implementor of TV, in the VHF channels, so was stuck with very low resolution (400 lines) for many years, while other countries introduced higher resolution (625 lines and up). Britain finally upgraded to 625 lines in the 1970’s and the 400 line was phased out in the 1980’s.

          But this was 1972, and if Ian Richardson blamed ‘sunspots’ it was surely VHF propagation.

          The typical “break-up” kind of summer-time TV interference he described only occurs in the VHF band. It is usually due to sporadic-E prop, but F-layer interference can also happen, rarely, as it did in Solar Cycle 19 (1950’s).
          The UHF band does not experience this kind of _ionospheric_ interference. But occasionally “tropospheric ducting” can occur in the VHF/UHF bands, linked to rain/thunder storms, where radio waves reflect off of _tropospheric_ layers. But this is generally less intense, smoother with less chaotic interference patterns.

          I had addressed this already; I referenced a post further down in this thread (ppl do not read, apparently). If this post shows up in the bottom of the thread, look above it.

          You’re also conflating ALL VHF TV channels as being one big lump: “VHF” (30 – 300 MHz). Note ALSO I asked a question concerning WHERE the UK channels were assigned.

          Note (for future reference) VHF _low_ (~30 to 88 MHz; US assignments) _is_ subject to sporadic-E effects … we’re SEEING it here now that it is summer here in the states, and as EVIDENCED in the various ionograms derived by vertical incident RADAR AKA “ionospheric sounders” and as evidenced by 6m contacts. “Tropo” (tropospheric ducting) isn’t so effective down here. A lot of operating 6m in past years bears this out.

          VHF _high_ (150 to 216 MHz, US VHF-HI TV chs 174 – 216 MHz) isn’t quite nearly as prone to sporadic-E effects, in particular as it refers to TeeVee sig propagation effects. THIS is where tropospheric ducting (referred to in shorthand as “tropo”) can be seen (or could; I still get ATSC TeeVee signal from out of district occasionally) on TeeVee owing to “tropo”. It is more likely, as I wrote already, the account of the TeeVee interference in the OP was due to tropo (tropospheric ducting) rather than sporadic-E, factors of 10 more likely, if the spectrum used was VHF-high band or UHF.

          UHF goes absolutely nuts via tropo, and it is even more ‘immune’ (note: there are small additional qualifications, ifs, ands and buts) to sporadic-E than VHF-High band.

          We had an unusual propagation event on Medium Wave (not ‘shortwave’) two nights ago now; I experienced 17 unique “spots’ on 160 meters (1.8 MHz) from spotters in the UK, EU, Iceland and the S. Pole which compares with a good night on 160 meters —— IN THE WINTER. The next night only three spots were secured, one in AUS (down under) and two total in the UK/EU area. The S. Pole report was not to be had … such is the fickleness of 160 meters.

          For completeness: Our “local” Austin, TX Ionosonde (2nd plot; 1st plot is a plot of MUF):

          https://region6armymars.org/resources/solarweather.php

  3. What’s an astronaut’s favorite place on the computer? The space bar.

    What time do astronauts eat? At launch time.

    What did the alien say to the cat? Take me to your litter.

    What did the astronaut say when he crashed into the moon? I Apollo-gize.

  4. Are they using radiation dose models like the controversial linear no threshhold one? If not, it would be interesting to see details of their preferred alternatives. Geoff S

    • Well, otherwise we may as well give up, now. If women were in charge we would never have left the safety of the cave!

    • From Robert Heinlein’s 1973 Forrestal Lecture at the U.S. Naval Academy:

      “Behaving on a still higher moral level were the astronauts who went to the Moon, for their actions tend toward the survival of the entire race of mankind. The door they opened leads to hope that h. sapiens will survive indefinitely long, even longer than this solid planet on which we stand tonight. As a direct result of what they did, it is now possible that the human race will NEVER die. Many short-sighted fools think that going to the Moon was just a stunt. But those astronauts knew the meaning of what they were doing, as is shown by Neil Armstrong’s first words in stepping down onto the soil of Luna: ‘One small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind.’ ”

      I recommend you read the whole piece.

      https://www.zeugmaweb.net/articles/patriotism.html

    • Because it’s there. And because NASA needs to fire up public sentiment like it did in the Good Ol’ Days that followed the launch of Sputnik.

      Here’s an interesting chart:

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NASA#/media/File:NASA-Budget-Federal.svg

      Before Sputnik there was no such thing as NASA; After Sputnik the Space Race was on and NASA sprung into being and the massive funding for Nasa ensued until … something happened.

      Oh, for the return of the Good Ol’ Days. If I worked for NASA I would search for a reason to make the Good Ol’ Days return. Any reason would do. Perhaps finds hints of life on another planet? Find another planet that resembles earth? Whatever it would take to fire up the tax-paying public and unleash some much-needed funding.

    • Sheri,
      Humans need new frontiers to daunt and intimidate us. We need that challenge to drive us ever forward, developing the new technologies essential for exploring new frontiers. Without these challenges, our race will devolve into increasingly trivial navel lint gazing exercises that sap the human spirit and leave the soul in despair. Look about you. It’s right in front of you. Look at the major cities through small towns that are infested with drugs, disease, and ideology driven human devolution. People without a frontier to conquer are rudderless, casting about for a ’cause’ to support, squabbling over resources, and slowly losing their humanity to anything that will temporarily ease their lack of purpose and despair of soul.

      We should be better than this. We must be better, if the human race is to not merely survive but prosper and thrive! We need new frontiers….

    • It doesn’t seem like a good idea. They haven’t solved the problem of space radiation. They could live underground.

    • Because NASA is an enormous welfare project for unemployed engineers that we might someday need for war time defense work.

  5. So, in August 1972 it was brutally hot in Surrey, England and the grass was all browned from severe drought conditions. Yeah, we had to homogenize ourselves out of the drought.

    • How did this piece ever get out of NASA? Saying that it was hot somewhere as far back as 1972, and without any mention of the coming hell-on-earth.

  6. The link to the NASA solarflares site given in the article leads to a useful Springer journal “living reviews in Solar physics” which is an open access journal . Browsing recent articles I found this , which I highly recommend fellow lay -persons adding to their desk- top files:
    https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s41116-017-0006-9
    -“A history of solar activity over millennia “-
    It is full of information relevant to many topics commonly explored here, such as the basis of Svalgard and Schatten’s revision of the Sunspot numbers and subsequent implications on the effect or non effect of the Maunder and Dalton minima on the LIA . Also the various proxies for historic SEFs , including what apparently was the most violent , that of 779AD.

    • mikewaite
      August 8, 2019 at 5:43 am

      Thanks Mike…looks like a very interesting paper. Will take some time to read thoroughly and digest.

  7. If earth is shielded from high-energy protons by magnetic field, why not generate a magnetic field around the spacecraft? Increasing mass for absorption seems low-tech. ‘Shields up’.

    • Such a magnetic “shield” would have to be very powerful. The Earth’s field is not all that strong, but it is very deep – there is nearly a quarter of the Earth’s circumference for the particles to be deflected in. (It’s a gradual curve for an incoming particle, not a “bounce” or a sharp angle.)

      So, you would need high power (definitely nuclear). Not to mention the effects of such a powerful field on every bit of electrical / electronic equipment you have – which would require mass to shield that.

      (Sorry if this doesn’t quite do it; only about half a mug of coffee so far. If you need a better explanation, or with numbers, I’ll try again later.)

    • Because the Earth’s magnetic field does not repel particles, but merely deflects them to the polar regions where they “precipitate” downward as aurorae. So, magnetizing a spacecraft would require a much, much stronger field and merely redirect a portion of the radiation to the magnetic poles of the spacecraft.

      • I don’t think it’s that simple. The space craft is much smaller than the Earth, so in absolute terms, much less deflection is needed.

        Yes, a field stronger than earths native field would be needed, however, I don’t think it would need to be quite as strong as you are thinking. A strong enough permanent magnet could be used which would require no power at all.

        • Why not use solar powered super conducting magnets? It’s certainly cold enough in space for super conducting magnets. Locate the magnet outside the ship and have the magnetic field lines wrap around the outside of the ship.

      • As I said above the magnetic field deflects particles, mostly elections, protons and occasional cosmic “ray” particles. It would have no effect at all on ionizing electromagnetic radiation such as X and gamma rays. Need lead shields for that

        • No, not necessarily lead shields. Lead will absorb x-rays and gamma rays. Better might be a material that will reflect x-rays and gamma rays.

    • This would be my thought as well. The Earth’s magnetic field isn’t even all that strong. It would probably be doable by having a moderately sized permanent magnet at the core of the spacecraft.

    • The spacecraft’s magnetic field would result in generating of a strong radiation belt around it.

      • Please go review what happens (what is seen) to electrons in a Crooke’s tube subjected to a magnet; sorry, but, you’ve forgotten (or never knew) what actually happens.

  8. From the article: “But where spacecraft design is concerned, relying on sheer bulk for protection soon grows expensive, since more mass requires more fuel to launch.”

    Well, there’s one reason to go to the Moon. We can launch a lot of material (water ice) from the Moon using a solar powered mass driver and save the expense of launching it from Earth.

    A coating of one meter of water ice on the outside of a spacecraft would provide all the radiation protection required for humans and equipment.

    The high cost of going from Earth to low-Earth orbit is the major holdup to the human breakout into space. So until we develop cheaper systems we have to use workarounds like getting our raw materials from the Moon.

    • The external ice will work, but it will still add mass that must be propelled from lunar L1. (I’ll assume that’s where you assemble the shields)
      But, water will be needed wherever we go and this external shield can be used for that purpose. I would suggest (and have proposed several concepts to NASA) that the outer shell of the craft incorporate the water treatment processing system and holding tanks. Dual use.

      • ” I would suggest (and have proposed several concepts to NASA) that the outer shell of the craft incorporate the water treatment processing system and holding tanks. Dual use.”

        A very good suggestion.

  9. Have they considered building energy storage rings into the design of spacecraft, using higher temperature and generally lighter superconductors, then aligning the spacecraft such that most of the charged particles are directed away from a small area of the living area? I can imagine engineering a combination of reflectors, insulation, refrigerators, and radiators to keep the ring cool in space. The power stored might be useful at the end of a journey for orbital injection and maneuvers, and perhaps other high peak power activities. It is becoming feasible and economic:
    https://www.chemistryworld.com/news/world-first-as-wind-turbine-upgraded-with-high-temperature-superconductor/3009780.article

    I haven’t taken the opportunity yet to thank Mr. Watts for getting my son and me into the Heartland ICCC and the great time we had. It was a perfect day filled with the best people.

    • Yes. The magnetic field scheme does not work as the field cannot be made to match the geometry of the field of a large planet. A small very strong magnetic field will accelerate particles to make the problem worst rather than better.

      See Scientific America summary article, based on NASA seminar to address problem, that is attached to below comment.

  10. This is a link to an excellent summary of the space radiation problem situation that was written for Scientific America by the late solar physicist Eugene Parker, based on a NASA two day seminar that was done to understand the problem and the physics of the possible protection schemes.

    http://crd.yerphi.am/files/Astronews/article.pdf

    Comment:
    Astronauts in the space station are in low orbit and are hence still protected by the earth’s magnetic field. On a moon or mars trip the astronauts are exposed to both solar flares and cosmic radiation.

    There is also no solution to protecting the astronauts from a solar flare which is worst (quick death, rather than a slow death). The plan to protect against a solar flare is to plan the trip when there is a low statistical chance of a solar flare that would kill the crew.

    You need 5 meters of water which makes the mass of the space craft 500 tons, too high.

    The maximum space shuttle payload is 30 tons for a comparison.

    Based on this NASA overview study, that pulled no punches:

    “NASA set up a two-day meeting in August 2004 at the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor to assess where things stood.

    The conclusion was not hopeful. It was not obvious what the solution to the cosmic-ray problem might be. Nor was it obvious that there is a solution at all.”

    “….although astronauts could comfortably make do with 500 grams, which is equivalent to the air mass
    above an altitude of 5,500 meters. Any less would begin to be counterproductive, because the shielding material would fail to absorb the shrapnel.”

    “If the material is water, it has to be five meters deep. So, a spherical water tank encasing a small capsule would have a
    mass of about 500 tons.

    Larger, more comfortable living quarters would require even more. By comparison, the space shuttle can carry a maximum payload of about 30 tons.

    Water is commonly proposed because astronauts would need it anyway and because it is rich in hydrogen.

    Heavier elements make less effective shields because the extra protons and neutrons in their nuclei fall in one another’s shadows, limiting their ability to interact with an incoming cosmic ray.

    To increase the hydrogen content, engineers could use ethylene (C2H4), which has the further advantage that it can be polymerized to polyethylene, a solid, thereby avoiding the necessity for a tank to contain it.

    Even so, the required mass would be at least 400 tons—still not feasible. Pure hydrogen would be lighter but would require a heavy pressurized vessel.”

    The galaxy is pervaded with fast-moving particles thatcan rip apart DNA and other molecules.

    Here at the surface of Earth, we are well protected from this cosmic radiation by the air mass overhead. Astronauts in near equatorial orbits are shielded by the planet’s magnetic
    field. But those who make long voyages away from Earth will suffer serious health consequences.

    ■ A spherical shell of water or plastic could protect space travelers, but it would take a total mass of at least
    400 tons— beyond the capacity of heavy-lift rockets.

    A superconducting magnet would repel cosmic particles and weigh an estimated nine tons, but that is still too
    much, and the magnetic field itself would pose health risks. No other proposed scheme is even vaguely realistic.

    • A very interesting read. Much is yet to be learned regarding human radiation exposure. Much of my earlier designs had limited safe zones within polyethylene tanks for sleeping and sheltering from CMEs, but with much larger allowable exposure limits. If we want to replicate Earth-like conditions I suggest we begin robotic hydro-mining the moon for ice. Such a heavy shell can be made from insitu materials on the moon and rail launched up to L1 or L2 for assembly.
      Propulsion will be another issue entirely. Water is very useful as fuel as well as shielding. After all the effort to extract and launch It seems such a shame to spray it out the tail pipe, but alas that’s the best we can do with conventions impulse drive. We might want to consider ion propulsion drive for such a space egg of a vehicle. It will be far more efficient ISP wise but the slow spiral trajectory is the proverbial ‘slow boat to China’. However, that might not be so bad because with such massive shielding travel time is not an issue.

    • BTW the Space Shuttle Orbiter is very poor vehicle for considering payload launch weight. It weighed 171,000 lbs and could only carry a payload of 53,500 lbs to LEO. That’s abysmally poor. That meant the entire launch system had to lift a 3:1 dead weight ratio into LEO.
      With today’s launch engines the rule of thumb is about 80 lbs of fuel for every 1lb of payload to orbit. Sending useless mass into LEO is a waste of fuel.

      • The Space Shuttle Launch System, by which I mean the three Space Shuttle engines plus the Solid Rocket Boosters, could launch about 135 tons (minus the Space Shuttle propellants used enroute) into low-Earth orbit.

        The Space Shuttle weighed 75 tons empty and its maximum takeoff weight was 135 tons (STS-93) which inclueded the weight of the space shuttle (75 tons) and its propellants (25 tons) and a fully-loaded cargo bay.

        In 1993 NASA was trying to decide between three space station designs for the International Space Station, Option A, Option B, and Option C.

        Options A and B were designs very similar to the current space station requiring the launch of many modules in the Space Shuttle cargo bay, which would take years to get everything in place in orbit.

        Option C was a design that only required a couple of Space Shuttle launches to get everything needed in orbit. The Option C design attached a habitation module (15 ft long and 27 ft in diameter) to the bottom of the orange External Tank and replaced the space shuttle with a Heavy-lift engine module that held the three space shuttle engines. This module was mounted in the same way the space shuttle would mount, on the side of the External Tank. The space shuttle engine module was designed to be returned to Earth for reuse.

        The Space Shuttle Launch System could put 135 tons in low-Earth orbit (minus propellants used). In the Option C heavy-lift mode, the Space Shuttle Launch System would be able to put that 135 tons in orbit minus the weight of the space shuttle propellants (25 tons) and minus the Option C heavy-lift module (about 10 tons). So the Option C heavy-lift vehicle version of the Space Shuttle Launch System could have put about 100 tons of cargo in low-Earth orbit.

        The Option C space station would be composed of the habitation module plus the attached External Tank (27.5 ft in diameter and 153 ft long) which would be converted in orbit into an expanded space station bigger than the International Space Station. A couple of more Shuttle flights would be required to bring up the solar panels and miscellaneous gear, and it would be done. Options A and B required dozens of Space Shuttle launches to get everything in orbit.

        Had we gone the Option C heavy-lift route, we would have ourselves a very fine, reliable heavy-lift launch vehicle that could have satisfied all our space development needs. Instead, we throw it away and start spending billions of dollars and years of time developing a new heavy-lift vehicle that isn’t any more capable than the Space Shuttle Launch System.

        Instead, we should have kept the Space Shuttle Launch System and spent our development money on reuseable liquid-fueled boosters to replace the solid rocket boosters, which would increase the lifting power of the Space Shuttle Launch System while increasing safety. If they wanted new engines, they could have put them on the shuttle.

        The cost of developing the heavy-lift engine module for Option C was included in the Option C development costs and Option C was the cheapest of the three designs by a significant amount.

        We’ve wasted tens of billions of dollars because we did not follow this path. Hopefully the private sector will rescue us from this bureaucratic mess.

        • I should correct my statement about the Heavy-lift engine module being reusable. That was the plan for the future, if NASA had adopted this heavy-lift design, but the Option C launch itself would have been done with a disposable heavy-lift engine module. The designers were planning on using the oldest set of shuttle engines available and would discard them after the launch. No reuse.

          I also mentioned in another post that the Space Shuttle itself could lift the Option C space station into orbit, but I didn’t mention that this would require a stripped down/downsized habitation module attached to the bottom of the External Tank, and would require an empty cargo bay.

          An interesting side note (at least to me:) is there were estimates that the External Tank might have up to 20 tons of hydrogen and oxygen left over in the ET after it reached orbit.

          • Tom I always was thought Option C was on to a better payload/mass ratio, but needed to incorporate a way to recover the SSMEs. I was always enamored with the concept of a recoverable engine payload assist module which would fly itself to a recoverable touch down /splash down or actually land itself with onboard propellant. It would attach to aft aft end of the LV and detach just prior to reentry for recovery.

  11. “During Apollo 12 mission (1969), there was an experiment called “the Apollo helmet dosimetry experiment”, during which the signs of cosmic ray passage on an astronaut helmet were very evident.

    clip_image002

    ALTEA studies the effects of cosmic rays on central nervous system and in particular the Light Flash phenomenon. Currently light flashes are the only way that humans have to actually see elementary particles without any instrument or detector. In 1952 the physicist Cornelius Tobias predicted that cosmic rays could interact with astronaut visual system to generate anomalous perceptions of light (without the effective presence of light) . In 1969, during Apollo 11 mission, Buzz Aldrin reported the first experience of these flashes after their eyes had become adapted to the low light in the cabin. He talked about strange flashed of multiple shapes and dimensions.”
    https://alteaspace.wordpress.com/2011/11/01/the-effects-of-cosmic-rays-on-astronauts-the-light-flash-phenomenon/

  12. Hypothesis sez:
    Sunspots/AR will emerge 14-17 August a/o -140 deg longitude (helio graphic Earth view). (Stereo -A monitoring view).
    Some minor A-M class xray flaring. Rotating to an Earth view within 4 days ~20 August.
    Trigger on mag flux tubes was on 28 July.

  13. Hypothesis sez:
    Sunspots/AR will emerge 14-17 August a/o -140 deg longitude (helio graphic Earth view). (Stereo -A monitoring view).
    Some minor A-M class xray flaring. Rotating to an Earth view within 4 days ~20 August.
    Trigger on mag flux tubes was on 28 July

  14. But for several days that month, his TV picture kept breaking up. “Do not adjust your set,” he recalls the BBC announcing. “Heat isn’t causing the interference. It’s sunspots.”

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but, doesn’t the UK use only UHF channels?

    UHF is MUCH less subject to E-layer ‘skip’ than the low-band VHF channels.

    Now, what the author _may_ have witnessed was “tropo”, AKA tropospheric ducting. THAT has an effect on UHF and VHF H-band channels and less so on VHF lo-band. Tropo is not induced by the sun, but is a result of dramatic changes in temperature and humidity of an airmass such that the dielectric constant is affected and ‘bending’/diffraction of radio waves takes place in the troposphere (near the earth.)

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