Each time someone mentions the phrase space tourism, the first thing that possibly hits your mind is a lifetime experience that would never want to miss. Space tourism is simply traveling to space for leisure. Unlike the conventional traveling that happens on the earth, space tourism involves many risks. Apart from the freezing temperatures, isolation, and crushing pressures expected in space, space tourists also expect space radiations.
Space radiations are dangerous and they can cause illness and even injure some vital body organs. Therefore, when preparing for your first trip to space, space radiations will be among the key considerations. Keep learning to understand space radiations, their effects on space travelers, and the steps space tourism companies are taking to ensure the safety of travelers.
What are Space Radiations?
Space radiations contain atoms without any electrons. The atoms get stripped of their electrons when traveling in interstellar space at a very high speed. After losing the electrons, the atoms are left with the nucleus alone and they can have dangerous effects on our human body tissues, DNA, and cells.
There are three categories of space radiations. They include galactic cosmic rays, the particles trapped inside the earth’s atmosphere, and the particles released during solar flares. Galactic cosmic rays are the most dominant radiations and they ionize atoms when passing through space. Keep in mind that the radiations can pass through matter easily.
The radiations can penetrate the materials used to make space vehicles and even pass through the skin of an astronaut. Therefore, space travel companies work hard to design space tourism vehicles that can protect the occupants from radiation.
How Do Space Radiations Affect Space Tourists
Before looking at the steps space travel companies are taking to make space tourism safer, let us look at the effects space radiations can have on your body. To start with, ionization radiation losses a lot of energy as it passes through tissues, and that energy is absorbed by the material. Ionization of body cell components and water results in the breakdown of the DNA strands.
Furthermore, cosmic radiations have secondary effects, which arise when more particles like neutrons are made. Here are the factors that determine the space radiations a space tourist gets exposed to.
- The orbital inclination – the areas closer to the South Pole and the North Pole of the earth have higher radiations.
- The altitude – space tourists who reach very high altitudes get exposed to high radiations because the magnetic field of the earth is weaker to those heights.
- The solar cycle – the sun has an 11-year solar cycle. The radiations are higher during the higher sunspots periods.
Steps that Space Tourism Companies are taking to Protect Space Travellers
The space tourism industry is growing rapidly and space companies are directing more research into understanding the effects of radiation on space visitors and the most effective protection methods. According to Andrey Bokarev, who is currently the present of Transmashholding, each space travel company has to ensure that each client gets high value for his/her money. The companies have taken several steps to ensure the safety of their clients. Here are some of the strategies they have adopted.
- Shielding – this is the primary method that space travel companies use to protect their clients. Each space vehicle should have capsules and shielding made of special materials to protect the occupants from harmful space radiations.
- Protective clothing – apart from the space vehicle’s protection, each space traveler has to wear protective clothing. The protective clothing is designed to protect them from harsh radiation. If the space trip will take a long time, the safety crew has to keep checking the levels of exposure to space radiations.
It is evident that space radiations are a big threat to people traveling to space. Still, space travel companies have taken several steps to ensure the safety of their travelers. Some of the companies that have adopted the best strategies are Orion Span, Virgin Galactic, and SpaceX.