A new real-time tool - known as "PREDICCS" - providing critical info indispensable for manned missions to the moon and Mars, has been created by astrophysicists from the University of New Hampshire’s Space Science Center (SSC).
It's the first online system for predicting and forecasting the radiation environment in near-Earth, lunar, and Martian space environments.
The space science community has traditionally viewed radiation hazards in space as a “showstopper” and that until PREDICCS there has never been an extremely accurate, nearly real-time means of challenging that.
In this artist's rendition, particle radiation from a solar flare speeds away from the sun along curved magnetic field lines (blue lines) and arrives before the coronal mass ejection (orange mass from the sun) and its driven shock. PREDICCS provides a real-time window on space weather events like this, which allows situational awareness of the hazards posed by the space radiation environment. Image courtesy of Nathan Schwadron, UNH-EOS.
“If we send human beings back to the moon, and especially if we’re able to go to Mars, it will be critical to have a system like this in place to protect astronauts from radiation hazards,” says associate professor of physics Nathan Schwadron of the University of New Hampshire’s Institute for the Study of Earth, Oceans, and Space (EOS), which houses the SSC.
“What we really need to know is how hazardous this cycle of radiation is. How often do we see large events that have significant risk associated with them? Those questions can only be answered if you’re continually building up the database of events and the risk associated with them.”
Here is the link to the tool: