Researchers from China took measurements on the lunar surface and came to the conclusion that the radiation there is about 2.5 times more than onboard the ISS. However, they believe that astronauts can spend about two months on a satellite of the Earth without harm to their health.
According to new measurements from the lunar surface, a two-month stay on the moon would expose astronauts to about the same amount of radiation as a five-month stay on the International Space Station (ISS).
The detectors of the Chinese lunar satellite Change-4 measured radiation from galactic cosmic rays on the lunar surface in 2019 and from January 31 to February 10, 2020. Now scientists have analyzed this data – the astronaut will receive an average daily dose of 1,369 microsieverts of radiation, the researchers said.
This is about 2.6 times the average daily radiation exposure of 523 microsieverts recorded inside the ISS, scientists say. This means that being on the moon for two months is not dangerous for the health of astronauts. They will receive about the same amount of radiation that astronauts receive on the ISS [for five months].
The new study is possibly the first to measure cosmic radiation on the lunar surface. However, scientists warn that radiation levels in other parts of the space station may be higher, so the authors may have overestimated the difference in the irradiation of the lunar surface and the ISS.
Long-term exposure to such radiation can damage cells and DNA, which can lead to cancer, cataracts, heart problems, neurodegenerative diseases and behavioral disorders. It is not yet clear exactly what effect such exposure might have on human health. The effect of spending a lot of time in outer space can manifest itself many years after exposure.