2015 IEEE Nuclear and Space Radiation Effects Conference

The 2015 IEEE Nuclear and Space Radiation Effects Conference will be held July 13-17, 2015, at the Marriott Copley Place, Boston, Massachusetts. The conference features a technical program consisting of eight to ten technical sessions of contributed papers describing the latest observations in radiation effects, a Short Course on radiation effects offered on July 13, a Radiation Effects Data Workshop, and an Industrial Exhibit. The technical program includes oral and poster sessions. Please visit their website for more...

Why Access To Space Needs To and Is Getting Cheaper

If you look into the night you can see the Moon our nearest neighbor. Humans have been there a few times but we aim to “shoot to the moon” more permanently and sustainably. We can see Mars, a planet which sits in the cross hairs of our exploration with its raw resources and atmosphere which could be used to build a civilization. We see other places in our Solar System and beyond that every science fiction movie advertises as our future homes, as places where humanity can unabashedly grow without the looming threat of global catastrophe and scarcity of resources. The future of humanity is in the stars, but how do we move toward it? Governments seem ambivalent, and today it seems with the retirement of the shuttle and lack of a sustained space vision that we are less capable of spaceflight than we were in the days of our parents. Are we going anywhere anytime soon? Any object that has traveled into space is worth its weight in gold. For the past 30 years the price to go to Earth orbit has been $10,000 a pound ($20,000 a kg). Any mission to Mars or the Moon must first travel through the gateway of Earth orbit meaning that economically, our ambitions to travel beyond stand as unsustainable pots of gold at the end of the rainbow. The staggering cost of spaceflight has been the single biggest deterrent to extending our reach beyond Earth orbit. Only light-weight robotic missions are even fiscally capable of being implemented. During the early 1990’s the Space Exploration Initiative quoted $500 billion as the cost...

NETS 2015 Call for Papers is Out

The Nuclear and Emerging Technology for Space or NETS conference is an annual conference that is at the heart of the space nuclear community. The conference this year is at the Albuquerque Marriott in February 23-26. The call for abstracts is up and the due date is October 31. Learn more at the official NETS 2015...

May ANSTD Meeting and Upcoming ANS Annual Conference

ANSTD had a recent meeting in May to discuss several topics including the 2015 NETS conference, recent elections, and the upcoming ANS anual conference. The minutes are available below: ANSTD May 2014 Telecom Minutes The upcoming American Nuclear Society annual conference is in Reno, Nevada June 15-18. There will be an ANSTD division meeting on Sunday. The agenda for that meeting is below: ANS 2014 ANSTD Agenda The conference will have a technical section featuring papers and presentations in the Aerospace Nuclear field. In addition on Sunday there is a reception with the ANS president. For that reception the ANSTD has created a flyer highlighting the ANSTD’s missions and activities. The flyer is available below. ANSTD...

Space Radiation – Interplanetary Radiation Belts

Written by: Megan Wetegrove In this post, planetary radiation belts are introduced, with special emphasis on Earth’s planetary radiation belts – the Van Allen Belts. Requirements for Planetary Radiation Belts In order for a radiation belt to form around a planet, the planet must have a magnetic field. This magnetic field is able to deflect charged particles that are traveling in the planet’s direction. The area around the planet in which the magnetic field is able to control particles is called the magnetosphere. When a magnetosphere is present around a planet, most space radiation directed at the planet is deflected. Below is an image of Earth’s magnetic field deflecting charged particles from the Sun. Image Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Magnetosphere_rendition.jpg A planet’s magnetic field is able to offer the planet a great amount of protection from charged particles. At the same time, the presence of a magnetic field gives rise to planetary radiation belts on account of the field trapping a number of charged particles along magnetic field lines. Consequently, these particles form donut-shaped ‘belts’ around the planet. Currently, Mercury, Earth, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune are surrounded by trapped radiation. Venus and Mars do not have magnetic fields; thus, these planets are not able to trap charged particles. The Van Allen Belts The Van Allen belts are two planetary radiation belts surrounding Earth. The belts are donut-shaped crescents that do not extend as far as Earth’s poles. The inner belt, extending from approximately 400 km to 18,400 km (measured from the equator) consists mainly of electrons with maximum energy of 10 MeV. Electron fluxes with energies greater than 2 MeV peak...