, Volume 46, Issue 2, pp 95-100
Date: 13 Dec 2006

A temporal forecast of radiation environments for future space exploration missions

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Abstract

The understanding of future space radiation environments is an important goal for space mission operations, design, and risk assessment. We have developed a solar cycle statistical model in which sunspot number is coupled to space-related quantities, such as the galactic cosmic radiation (GCR) deceleration potential (φ) and the mean occurrence frequency of solar particle events (SPEs). Future GCR fluxes were derived from a predictive model, in which the temporal dependence represented by φ was derived from GCR flux and ground-based Climax neutron monitor rate measurements over the last four decades. These results showed that the point dose equivalent inside a typical spacecraft in interplanetary space was influenced by solar modulation by up to a factor of three. It also has been shown that a strong relationship exists between large SPE occurrences and φ. For future space exploration missions, cumulative probabilities of SPEs at various integral fluence levels during short-period missions were defined using a database of proton fluences of past SPEs. Analytic energy spectra of SPEs at different ranks of the integral fluences for energies greater than 30 MeV were constructed over broad energy ranges extending out to GeV for the analysis of representative exposure levels at those fluences. Results will guide the design of protection systems for astronauts during future space exploration missions.