Monday, 23 January 2017
4E (Washington State Convention Center )
The current state of the Sun and solar wind, with uncommonly low densities and weak magnetic fields, has resulted in galactic cosmic ray fluxes that are elevated to levels higher than have ever before been observed in the space age. Given the continuing trend of declining solar activity, it is clear that accurate modeling of GCR radiation is becoming increasingly important in the field of space weather. Such modelling is essential not only in the planning of future manned space missions, but is also important for assessing the radiation risks to airline passengers, particularly given NASA’s plans to develop supersonic aircraft that will fly at much higher altitudes than commercial aircraft and thus be more vulnerable to radiation from GCRs. We provide an analysis of the galactic cosmic ray radiation environment of Earth's atmosphere using measurements from the Cosmic Ray Telescope for the Effects of Radiation (CRaTER) aboard the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) together with the Badhwar-O'Neil model and dose lookup tables generated by the Earth-Moon-Mars Radiation Environment Module (EMMREM). Newly available measurements of atmospheric dose rates from instruments aboard commercial and research aircraft enable evaluation of the accuracy of the model in computing atmospheric dose rates. Additionally, a newly available dataset of balloon-based measurements, including simultaneous balloon launches from California and New Hampshire, provide an additional means of comparison to the model. When compared to the available observations of atmospheric radiation levels, the computed dose rates seem to be sufficiently accurate, falling within recommended radiation uncertainty limits.
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