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Radiat Res. 2011 Dec;176(6):827-41. Epub 2011 Aug 22.

Variation in lunar neutron dose estimates.

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  • 1NASA Langley Research Center, 2 West Reid St., MS 188E, Hampton, Virginia 23681, USA.


The radiation environment on the Moon includes albedo neutrons produced by primary particles interacting with the lunar surface. In this work, HZETRN2010 is used to calculate the albedo neutron contribution to effective dose as a function of shielding thickness for four different space radiation environments and to determine to what extent various factors affect such estimates. First, albedo neutron spectra computed with HZETRN2010 are compared to Monte Carlo results in various radiation environments. Next, the impact of lunar regolith composition on the albedo neutron spectrum is examined, and the variation on effective dose caused by neutron fluence-to-effective dose conversion coefficients is studied. A methodology for computing effective dose in detailed human phantoms using HZETRN2010 is also discussed and compared. Finally, the combined variation caused by environmental models, shielding materials, shielding thickness, regolith composition and conversion coefficients on the albedo neutron contribution to effective dose is determined. It is shown that a single percentage number for characterizing the albedo neutron contribution to effective dose can be misleading. In general, the albedo neutron contribution to effective dose is found to vary between 1-32%, with the environmental model, shielding material and shielding thickness being the driving factors that determine the exact contribution. It is also shown that polyethylene or other hydrogen-rich materials may be used to mitigate the albedo neutron exposure.

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