Massive explosions from the sun pose a radioactive triple threat to the moon, Earth, and Mars

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Leroy N. Soetoro

Aug 10, 2023, 3:34:48 PMAug 10

An explosion from the sun blasted radiation into space, reaching the
Earth, Mars, and the moon in 2021.

These particles cannot harm humans on Earth, but they may harm people in
space, research shows.

Space meteorologists are working with the government to monitor these
events and keep people safe.

Sometimes the sun erupts, spewing high-energy particles across space, like
a lactose-intolerant person heading to the bathroom after a glass of milk.

These are called coronal mass ejections, and a particularly intense one
produced particles that hit Mars, Earth, and the moon in October of 2021.

It's the first time one of these events has been recorded on all three
bodies, the European Space Agencies reported last week.

If there had been an astronaut up on the moon or Mars at the time these
particles hit, they would've been exposed to radiation, though the levels
were below a lethal dose. In 1972, however, a solar outburst delivered a
high dose of radiation that could have threatened astronauts' health, but
no astronauts were in space at the time, per

As the sun begins entering a more active stage, CMEs will likely become
more common and stronger, which means more radiation risk for astronauts.

These events are especially important to keep an eye on when considering
that NASA intends to send people back to the moon as soon as 2025.

A more active sun means more coronal mass ejections and space radiation
There are two things that might explain why the particles from the October
2021 event went so far and wide, Robert Steenburgh, a space weather
scientist at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, told

First, we've only been able to monitor activity on all three planets since
2016, and second, it was a particularly big ejection.

The reason the ejection was so large likely has to do with the stage of
life the sun is in, Steenburgh said. It goes through a cycle of phases
roughly every 11 years.

Right now it's in its active phase, where more sunspots begin blooming,
like a pimply teenager.

During these active periods, it's common for space scientists to observe
two or three eruptions a day on the sun's surface. In more dormant
periods, there's an average of one per week, according to NASA.

We're likely going to hit solar maximum, when these events will be their
most intense and frequent, in late 2024. After that, the sun will slowly
return to a more dormant state, where some CME's still happen, but are
less common.

Safe on Earth but not the moon
People on Earth don't have to worry about being radiated by these
particles because Earth's magnetic field shields us from them Steenburgh

This field is like a "'quicker picker upper' for most of the particles. So
that's why people on the ground you know, don't have to worry about this
stuff," he said.

Astronauts in space or on the moon don't have this protection. Yet
research in outer space continues.

So if astronauts are up on the moon at the wrong time, they may be exposed
to life-threatening levels of radiation coming from an ejection. It could
also be dangerous to be on Mars, though its sparse atmosphere does filter
out some of the radiation, reported.

The spacesuits that astronauts wear may help up to a certain point, but if
they're outside when particles from a CME hit, the suits wouldn't be
enough, Steenburgh said.

That's why his team is in near constant communication with the Space
Radiation Analysis group. They're a division of NASA that monitors how
much radiation each person takes in during a space mission to determine if
they've reached a level that is too dangerous for them to return again.

Steenburgh said parts of the International Space Station can be refuges
from radiation. In the future, similar safeguards could be established on
the moon and Mars.

So for now, the best response space authorities have is to monitor these
events. Then, groups like Steenburgh's can alert governments to move their
astronauts to safer areas.

"Our job is to help them understand when it's okay to be outside," he

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Kym Horsell

Aug 10, 2023, 9:58:42 PMAug 10
On Friday, August 11, 2023 at 5:34:48 AM UTC+10, Leroy N. Soetoro wrote:
> An explosion from the sun blasted radiation into space, reaching the
> Earth, Mars, and the moon in 2021.
> These particles cannot harm humans on Earth, but they may harm people in
> space, research shows.
means more radiation risk for astronauts.

Well I dont know about harm.

It's starting to be well-understood even
by geologists that cosmic rays and
major earthquakes have some affinity.

But to expand on that, let's look at some
simple data for solar flares and major quakes. Sitting down? Good.

Date(y.m) #protonevents #mag5+quakes Linear model
2006.96 16 142 140.442
2017.54 1 118.818 116.616
2015.46 5 122 122.97
2011.62 4 126 121.381*
2017.71 7 122 126.146*
2014.71 3 117.5 119.793
2015.46 5 122 122.97

I've binned all moths with the same number of proton storms together.

It seems there is a stat sig relationship.
On average more proton storms -> more major quakes.

beta = 1.58843 +- 0.552461
T-test: Pr (beta>0) = 99.8%
Spearman rank test: Pr (connected) = 95%+
R2 = 87%

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