Protecting Pilots from Radiation

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 7,799
    NASA is trying to develop a new map to protect pilots and passengers from the dangers of radiation exposure. Pilots are exposed to as much radiation as nuclear power plant employees.

    NASA reported that airline pilots absorb as much radiation over the course of a year as nuclear power plant employees.  It’s so much that they are considered “occupational radiation workers” by the FAA.  They fly at heights where there is little atmosphere to protect them from cosmic rays and radiation.  This radiation exposure puts them at a higher risk for cancer and cataracts.  And frequent flyers get more than rewards for racking up the miles. According to NASA, a 100,000 mile frequent flyer gets about the equivalent of 20 chest x-rays.  Exposure levels are dependent on latitude and altitude.  In order to protect passengers and pilots, NASA is developing an experimental tool to predict exposures in real time. The plan is to develop an online global map of radiation dose rates for different flight paths and altitudes.