Date of Award

5-2011

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science

Major

Nuclear Engineering

Major Professor

Lawrence W. Townsend

Committee Members

Lawrence H. Heilbronn, Bethany L. Goldblum

Abstract

Radiation from extraterrestrial sources is a concern for the safety of passengers and crew in high altitude aircraft. Cosmic radiation and solar particles constantly bombard the atmosphere with energy. Radiation levels from these sources can vary considerably depending on solar activity cycles and energetic particle events such as solar flares. In order to predict the effects of such events the nature of the radiation spectrum must be characterized, and the individual effects of each radiation type understood. The background radiation spectrum is known to good accuracy and prediction of radiation levels due to specific solar events is currently under investigation. This work begins the task of calculating the expected effects upon human tissue from these radiation sources with intervening air and aluminum. Proton and alpha radiation of 3000 MeV/nucleon and less is simulated using a software package called the High Energy Transport Code – Human Exploration and Development in Space (HETC-HEDS), and linear energy transfer to tissue surrogate is tabulated.

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