Space Hazards on ISS: How Much Is at Risk?

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In summary, the ISS is regularly hit by space junk, but mainly by space junk orbiting the Earth. Solar storms pose a potential danger, but the ISS is protected by Earth's magnetic field. A manned mission to Mars is virtually suicidal at present due to the dangers posed by micrometeors.
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I wondered, how much micrometeors, solar storms endanger the infrastructure and personnel of ISS?
Does it require really thick outer walls, and quite regular maintenance?
 
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The ISS is regularly hit, but mainly by space junk orbiting the Earth. As was said above, a Kevlar blanket protects them. The ISS can usually detect incoming objects, so for bigger things they can rotate and move the station a fraction to help avoid it. Regular (I believe daily!) spacewalks are sent out to repair damage caused by these things. As to solar storms, the ISS is close enough to the Earth that the Earth's magnetic force keeps the station safe. Hope this answers your question! ;)
 
  • #4
Joe Martin said:
As to solar storms, the ISS is close enough to the Earth that the Earth's magnetic force keeps the station safe. Hope this answers your question!

No, that is incorrect

The ISS and any other orbiting spacecraft is peppered with cosmic rays from deep space as well as hi energy solar protons
No known shielding can completely stop the cosmic rays. Solar protons ejected from the sun by solar flares as CME's, on the other
hand are reasonably easy to stop with the aluminium and Kevlar skins

The ISS has a "more protected" area in the USA built Destiny Module that the astronauts can shelter in against X-ray and Gamma ray events from the sun

Dave
 
  • #5
Joe Martin said:
The ISS is regularly hit, but mainly by space junk orbiting the Earth. As was said above, a Kevlar blanket protects them. The ISS can usually detect incoming objects, so for bigger things they can rotate and move the station a fraction to help avoid it. Regular (I believe daily!) spacewalks are sent out to repair damage caused by these things. As to solar storms, the ISS is close enough to the Earth that the Earth's magnetic force keeps the station safe. Hope this answers your question! ;)
Do you have any references to any of that? I know the ISS has Kevlar sheilding, but I'd be shocked if it could stop anything larger than a dandruff flake. Per unit mass, an object on an opposite orbit has 1,000 times the kinetic energy of a bullet. That would turn a small nut or bolt into an artillery shell.
 
  • #6
russ_watters said:
Do you have any references to any of that? I know the ISS has Kevlar sheilding, but I'd be shocked if it could stop anything larger than a dandruff flake. Per unit mass, an object on an opposite orbit has 1,000 times the kinetic energy of a bullet. That would turn a small nut or bolt into an artillery shell.

My question was about micrometeors, not visible threat.
Yes we managed to create an amount of space debris, but i also read somewhere (sorry i don't have a reference) that in every day, Earth swallows quite an amount of space dust. (dozens of kilos maybe? Well i'd be thankful for a reference.)
 
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If hanging out on the ISS for six months is hazardous (as suggested by current studies), a 2 year manned mission to Mars is virtually suicidal at present.
 
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What I said I heard at a lecture by a NASA engineer. Sorry if it's not correct by your books, but that was what he told me! ;)
 
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I suspect you may have misunderstood him

there bunches of references online and many of them from NASA about the dangers and preventative measures taken :)
 
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Joe Martin said:
What I said I heard at a lecture by a NASA engineer. Sorry if it's not correct by your books, but that was what he told me! ;)
Also, "what you heard" isn't considered authoritative - The telephone game. :rolleyes:
 

1. What are the main hazards that astronauts face on the ISS?

The main hazards that astronauts face on the ISS include exposure to radiation, micrometeoroids and orbital debris, and the effects of long-term microgravity on the human body.

2. How do astronauts protect themselves from radiation on the ISS?

Astronauts on the ISS are protected from radiation through a combination of shielding on the spacecraft and personal dosimeters that monitor their exposure. The ISS is also equipped with a radiation monitoring system that alerts astronauts to potential high levels of radiation.

3. What measures are in place to protect the ISS from micrometeoroids and orbital debris?

The ISS is equipped with a Whipple shield, which is a multi-layered shielding system that can protect against small particles of debris. Additionally, the ISS has a debris avoidance system that can maneuver the station to avoid larger pieces of debris.

4. How does long-term exposure to microgravity affect the human body?

Long-term exposure to microgravity can lead to muscle and bone loss, changes in vision and cardiovascular function, and a weakened immune system. Astronauts on the ISS must follow strict exercise routines and receive regular medical check-ups to mitigate these effects.

5. Are there any potential risks to the ISS from external factors?

Yes, there are potential risks to the ISS from external factors such as solar flares and extreme weather events. In the event of a major risk, the ISS crew can shelter in more protected areas of the station or evacuate to Earth using the Soyuz spacecraft.

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