Web-based description of the space radiation environment using the Bethe-Bloch model
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Space weather is a rapidly growing area of research not only in scientific and engineering applications but also in physics education and in the interest of the public. We focus especially on space radiation and its impact on space exploration. The topic is highly interdisciplinary, bringing together fundamental concepts of nuclear physics with aspects of radiation protection and space science. We give a new approach to presenting the topic by developing a web-based application that combines some of the fundamental concepts from these two fields into a single tool that can be used in the context of advanced secondary or undergraduate university education. We present DREADCode, an outreach or teaching tool to rapidly assess the current conditions of the radiation field in space. DREADCode uses the available data feeds from a number of ongoing space missions (ACE, GOES-13, GOES-15) to produce a first order approximation of the radiation dose an astronaut would receive during a mission of exploration in deep space (i.e. far from the Earth's shielding magnetic field and from the radiation belts). DREADCode is based on an easy-to-use GUI interface available online from the European Space Weather Portal (www.spaceweather.eu/dreadcode). The core of the radiation transport computation to produce the radiation dose from the observed fluence of radiation observed by the spacecraft fleet considered is based on a relatively simple approximation: the Bethe–Bloch equation. DREADCode also assumes a simplified geometry and material configuration for the shields used to compute the dose. The approach is approximate and sacrifices some important physics on the altar of rapid execution time, which allows a real-time operation scenario. There is no intention here to produce an operational tool for use in space science and engineering. Rather, we present an educational tool at undergraduate level that uses modern web-based and programming methods to learn some of the most important concepts in the application of radiation protection to space weather problems.
CitationCazzola, E.; Calders, S.; Lapenta, G. (2016). Web-based description of the space radiation environment using the Bethe-Bloch model. , European Journal of Physics, Vol. 37, Issue 1, 15605, DOI: 10.1088/0143-0807/37/1/015605.