Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Radiation, supernova and Hitler!!!!

Well hello once more interweb, I have been looking at my trip out into the galaxy and I seem to have overlooked a rather obvious problem. As I will be spending a relatively long time out in space the possibility of me “interacting” with very harmful sources of radiation is quite large.
Now we all know that NASA astronauts have been popping into space for short trips to the space station and depending on whether or not you are a conspiracy theorist, to the moon as well.  However they have not spent much time out there really.
Deep space is filled with protons from solar flares, gamma rays from newborn black holes, and cosmic rays from exploding stars.

NASA measures radiation danger in units of cancer risk. So a 40 year old non smoker has a massive risk of 20% even if he/she stays on earth. I gave up the weed 6 months ago so my chance is probably higher than that. If my spaceship was built out of aluminium it would probably absorb about 50% of the aforementioned rays and so I would guesstimate that my chance of contracting life threatening cancer from a trip into deep space would be about 50-50.
The greatest threat is galactic cosmic rays--or "GCRs" for short. These are particles accelerated to almost light speed by distant supernova explosions. The most dangerous GCRs are heavy ionized nuclei such as Fe+26. They're much more energetic (millions of MeV) than typical protons accelerated by solar flares (tens to hundreds of MeV),GCRs barrel through the skin of spaceships and people like tiny cannon balls, breaking the strands of DNA molecules, damaging genes and killing cells. It all sounds very dangerous really and not much fun if I'm honest.
One method of reducing the amount of cosmic rays that would actually reach my body would be to use plastic to build the ship, polyethylene to be exact, it absorbs 20% more cosmic rays than aluminium. HAHA, at last a use for all those saved carrier bags in the kitchen draw.
This whole project is really quite complicated you know and I still haven’t found a way to get my particle accelerator working either. I think I may be due an early siesta. People say that I'm lazy for having a siesta but it happens a lot across Europe you know. If Hitler had invaded Europe in the afternoon it would have probably saved a lot of bloodshed as everyone would have been caught napping and captured without the need to fire a single shot. We would all now have reliable cars and gadgets that meet the highest standards of engineering have a large selection of sausages to choose from and drink from huge flagons instead of poxy pint pots, but anyway I digress.
Right off to siesta.
Peace out y'all, THE BAGSTA XXX

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