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Old Aug 24th, 2009, 06:52 PM       
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Originally Posted by Tadao View Post
I'm actually in the middle of a "movie" called "A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Moon". Nothing to interesting yet. They talk about the Van Allen Belt, but I haven't read too much on it to decide if it would have killed them or not.
Well it wouldn't. Because it didn't.

Quote:
Bad: A big staple of the HBs is the claim that radiation in the van Allen Belts and in deep space would have killed the astronauts in minutes. They interview a Russian cosmonaut involved in the USSR Moon program, who says that they were worried about going in to the unknowns of space, and suspected that radiation would have penetrated the hull of the spacecraft.



Good: Kaysing's exact words in the program are ``Any human being traveling through the van Allen belt would have been rendered either extremely ill or actually killed by the radiation within a short time thereof.''
This is complete and utter nonsense. The van Allen belts are regions above the Earth's surface where the Earth's magnetic field has trapped particles of the solar wind. An unprotected man would indeed get a lethal dose of radiation, if he stayed there long enough. Actually, the spaceship traveled through the belts pretty quickly, getting past them in an hour or so. There simply wasn't enough time to get a lethal dose, and, as a matter of fact, the metal hull of the spaceship did indeed block most of the radiation. For a detailed explanation of all this, my fellow Mad Scientist William Wheaton has a page with the technical data about the doses received by the astronauts. Another excellent page about this, that also gives a history of NASA radiation testing, is from the Biomedical Results of Apollo site. An interesting read!
It was also disingenuous of the program to quote the Russian cosmonaut as well. Of course they were worried about radiation before men had gone into the van Allen belts! But tests done by NASA showed that it was possible to not only survive such a passage, but to not even get harmed much by it. It looks to me like another case of convenient editing by the producers of the program.
http://www.badastronomy.com/bad/tv/foxapollo.html
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