CIA Doument: Radiation Hazards on Soviet Moon Base

By | October 8, 2008

I found some interesting reading tonight on the CIA’s freedom of information web site. I’ve been interested in the Moon landings and the belief by some conspiracy theorists that the Apollo Moon Landings were faked. This document from around 1969 has some interesting information on the real conditions on the surface of the moon:

(EST PUB DATE) STIR: BIOMEDICAL ASPECTS OF ESTABLISHING A SOVIET MANNED LUNAR B

Excerpt:

A spacesuit (shielding of 0.15 gm/cm2) offers little if any protection for the cosmonaut on the lunar surface during solar falre activity. He could receive a dose from a solar flare proton event up to 1,000 rad (a lethal dose) if not warned to take cover. A thin walled vehicle such as the US lunar module (0.1 gm/cm2) would also provide little protection against raditaiton.

There is a nice table in the document showing acute whole-body raditation dose (rads) and the biological effect.

0-25: No observable effects
25-50: Minor blood changes, no discomfort
50-100: Nausea and vomiting for about 1 day in 10% of persons, no deaths.
100-200: Fatigue, nausea and vomiting. Within 3 hrs in 50% of peersons.
200-300: Nausea, vomiting in 90% of persons along with other signs of radiation sickness. Death of 10-50%  of persons within 2-8 weeks.
350 and up: High probability of death in 90-100% of persons.

The estimated dose for a one way trip through the Van Allen belts behind 1.0 gm/cm2 of aluminum shielding: about 10 rads. So, as far as I understand it, you don’t get a leathal dose going through the Van Allen belts as some have suggested. Also, as far as I know, no Apollo missions got hit with solar flares while on the surface of the moon.

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