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Space weather and flight safety


Uploaded on July 10, 2015


Space weather and flight safety

2015-07-11 - Geomagnetic storms can influence satellite navigation and radio communications – both critical for airplane flights. When a significant solar storm hits our planet, airlines can divert or cancel flights to ensure safety. Flying high above our planet with little atmosphere to protect them, pilots can also absorb significant doses of cosmic rays and solar radiation. As a matter of fact, they probably absorb as much radiation as a worker in a nuclear power plant in any given year. The Canadian Space Agency supports the universities of Alberta, Calgary, and Waterloo to study space weather and develop applications to increase the resilience of Canadian infrastructure. (Credits: Canadian Space Agency, NASA)

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Pilots rely on efficient satellite navigation and good radio communications to ensure a safe flight. Solar eruptions produce huge bursts of electrical energy and particles that can disrupt radio signals. Space weather also has an impact on the health of pilots. Flying high above in the sky with little atmosphere to protect them, they can absorb as much radiation as a nuclear power plant worker. This can cause serious health issues.


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