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David Saint-Jacques explains radiation and presents the Radi-N2 and You project


Uploaded on October 16, 2018


David Saint-Jacques explains radiation and presents the Radi-N2 and You project

2018-10-16 - David Saint-Jacques explains radiation, which can pose serious health risks for astronauts on long-duration space missions.

While he measures radiation levels aboard the International Space Station as part of the Radi-N2 experiment, the Radi-N2 and You project allows classrooms across Canada to do the same on Earth. (Credit: Canadian Space Agency)

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David Saint-Jacques: Hi! I’m David Saint-Jacques, and I’m an astronaut with the Canadian Space Agency. This winter and spring, I’m going to live and work on the International Space Station.

Up there my body will be exposed to extreme conditions, like radiation. Have you ever heard of neutron radiation?

It occurs in space when charged particles collide with physical matter, like the walls of the International Space Station . . . and that collision produces neutrons.

These neutrons can penetrate deep into human tissue . . . and cause long-term health problems.

Radiation is much more intense in space than it is on Earth because our planet protects us from most of the rays.

During my mission, I’ll be participating in Radi-N2, a Canadian experiment that measures neutron radiation. With this bubble detector, I’ll be able to monitor how many neutrons astronauts are exposed to in space.

The Canadian Space Agency is collaborating with Let’s Talk Science so that you can do the same thing on Earth.

The Radi-N2 and You project will allow you to measure the radiation you are exposed to and compare your data to the data gathered by other students in Canada . . . and to mine, which I’ll be collecting in space!

Here’s how it works.

1. The bubble detector is a plastic tube filled with a polymer gel that contains tiny droplets.

2. When a neutron hits a droplet, there’s an increase in energy that causes it to transform into a gas bubble. Radiation can be measured by simply counting the number of gas bubbles.

3. To use the bubble detector, simply unscrew the cover, and it’s ready to take measurements.

4. Put it aside for 24 hours.

5. After that, count how many gas bubbles have formed in the tube. The more bubbles there are, the higher the level of radiation is.

6. Upload your data to the project’s database on Let’s Talk Science’s CurioCity website.

7. Put the cover back on so that the bubbles can return to a liquid state.

8. After a few hours, you can start the experiment all over again.

Are you ready? I’ll see you again when I’m on board of the International Space Station and it’s time to compare our results!


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