Attention astronauts, space radiation is more dangerous and intense than previously thought

File photo: Astronaut Bruce McCandless II, STS-41B mission specialist, uses his hands to control his movement above the Earth - and just few meters away from the space shuttle Challenger - during the first-ever spacewalk which didn't use restrictive tethers and umbilicals. NASA

In movies like 'Fantastic Four', we have seen astronauts gaining superpowers after getting exposed to cosmic radiation. But in real life, cosmic radiation is not that good for astronauts, and it may sometimes result in serious health hazards, says a new study.

The study conducted by researchers at the University of New Hampshire's Space Science Center has revealed astronauts' exposure to space radiation is far high and dangerous than previously thought. The research also warns that the space radiation will create serious implications for the health of the astronauts and the proper functioning of satellites. The study report is published in the journal Space Weather.

"The radiation dose rates from measurements obtained over the last four years exceeded trends from previous solar cycles by at least 30 percent, showing that the radiation environment is getting far more intense. These particle radiation conditions present important environmental factors for space travel and space weather, and must be carefully studied and accounted for in the planning and design of future missions to the moon, Mars, asteroids and beyond," said Nathan Schwadron, a professor of physics and the lead author of this study, reports.

The research team found that cosmic radiation has increased in the recent years, and they even cited the example of the Solar Energetic Particle (SEP) event which happened in September 2017. Apart from the Solar Energetic Particle event, space is also witnessing a dramatic rise in the production of Galactic Cosmic Rays (GCR).

It should be noted that Schwadron and his team had predicted a 20 percent rise in cosmic radiations in 2014. Interestingly, their new study reveals that the current space conditions have exceeded their prediction by 10 percent.

As the radiation environment is deteriorating in the course of time, researchers have warned that unshielded astronauts could experience adverse effects of radiation including cancer and internal organ damage.

During the research, scientists analyzed data from CRaTER on NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) and found that the doses of Galactic Cosmic Rays are increasing faster than we thought. Starting around 2006, the solar activity of the sun was decreased considerably, but later, in September 2017, the solar activity started increasing sending intense waves across our solar system.