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Adv Space Res. 1994 Oct;14(10):749-57.

Long-term modulation of Galactic Cosmic Radiation and its model for space exploration.

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NASA Johnson Space Center, Houston, TX 77058, USA.


As the human exploration of space has received new attention in the United States, studies find that exposure to space radiation could adversely impact the mission design. Galactic Cosmic Radiation (GCR), with its very wide range of charges and energies, is particularly important for a mission to Mars, because it imposes a stiff mass penalty for spacecraft shielding. Dose equivalent versus shielding thickness calculations, show a rapid initial drop in exposure with thickness, but an asymptotic behavior at a higher shielding thickness. Uncertainties in the radiobiology are largely unknown. For a fixed radiation risk, this leads to large uncertain ties in shielding thickness for small uncertainties in estimated dose. In this paper we investigate the application of steady-state, spherically-symmetric diffusion-convection theory of solar modulation to individual measurements of differential energy spectra from 1954 to 1989 in order to estimate the diffusion coefficient, kappa (r,t), as a function of time. We have correlated the diffusion coefficient to the Climax neutron monitor rates and show that, if the diffusion coefficient can be separated into independent functions of space and time: kappa (-r,t)=K(t)kappa 0 beta P kappa 1(r), where beta is the particle velocity and P the rigidity, then (i) The time dependent quantity 1/K(t), which is proportional to the deceleration potential, phi(r,t), is linearly related to the Climax neutron monitor counting rate. (ii) The coefficients obtained from hydrogen or helium intensity measurements are the same. (iii) There are different correlation functions for odd and even solar cycles. (iv) The correlation function for the Climax neutron monitor counting rate for given time, t, can be used to estimate mean deceleration parameter phi(t) to within +/- 15% with 90% confidence. We have shown that kappa(r,t) determined from hydrogen and/or helium data, can be used to fit the oxygen and iron differential energy spectra with a root mean square error of about +/- 10%, and essentially independent of the particle charge or energy. We have also examined the ion chamber and 14C measurements which allow the analysis to be extended from the year 1906 to 1990. Using this model we have defined reference GCR spectra at solar minimum and solar maximum. These can be used for space exploration studies and provide a quantitative estimate of the error in dose due to changes in GCR intensities.

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