Radiation and the Space Station
as Exploratorium science writer Mary Miller talks with
astronauts Jim Voss
and Susan Helms about
space radiation and how it affects life and work aboard
the International Space Station.
Jim, do you get space weather forecasts on the International
Space Station, and does the solar activity effect whether
you go on space walks or not?
JIM: In fact, once in a while, they do give us reports
of increased solar activity, solar flares. And when
they do that, we monitor with our radiation detection
devices onboard, using a different rate. And yes, we
would consider that, if we had a large solar storm happening,
or if we were forecasting one, we would probably delay
a space walk because of the increased radiation hazard.
Susan, is there anything that you do on the space station
to protect yourself during a solar storm, during periods
when theres more activity from the sun?
Well, I dont do anything in particular, but I
have, I guess, something that has been done generically.
We do have some extra radiation protection that has
been launched as part of an early program to shield
the crew members better. And I have taken a lot of this
radiation protection, which looks like a bunch of white
bricks, and Ive used it to build my sleep station.
So I dont do anything during the working day to
shield myself, but at night, every single night when
I go to bed, my sleeping bag is contained within these
radiation protection bricks. And by that, Im getting
some protection just every single time I go to sleep.
the astronauts talk more about life on the ISS