Space radiation is getting even worse according to new measurements taken by researchers, placing future astronauts in danger if they spend too much time in space.
The radiation problem is one of the major issues facing space travel, and it looks like it will start to play a bigger factor in plans to send more people up to space.
Space Radiation Getting Worse
Researchers from the University of New Hampshire discovered that space is becoming even more dangerous for humans, with increasing amounts of space radiation that may endanger both astronauts and satellites.
In the study that was published on the Space Weather journal, the researchers stated that the space radiation measurements that were acquired over the previous four years were much higher compared to previous solar cycles by 30 percent. This shows that space radiation is simply "getting far more intense," wrote lead author and University of New Hampshire professor of physics Nathan Schwadron.
"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," Schwadron wrote.
In 2014, Schwadron and his team predicted that in four years, space radiation would increase by 20 percent. However, they were 10 percent short of the actual figure, which shows that flying into space is starting to become more dangerous over time.
Schwadron, however, noted that the findings on space radiation will help scientists provide better protection for astronauts against space radiation.
Protecting Astronauts From Space Radiation
Astronauts who are exposed to space radiation may experience radiation sickness. In addition, there are more serious long-term effects to the health of astronauts, including the development of cancer and permanent damage to organs such as the brain, heart, and central nervous system.
The higher space radiation may force NASA and other space agencies to cut the time astronauts spend in space. A previous study that was also led by Schwadron revealed that in the 1990s, astronauts may spend about 1,000 days in space, but 20 years later, the number has declined to about 700 to 800 days.
Space radiation has long been considered in NASA's designs, such as in its plan to get astronauts to Mars by 2030. To safeguard the astronauts, an anti-radiation suit is being developed. However, with the latest findings on space radiation, the specifications and protection provided by these suits might need a second look.