eli5 why does riding in an airplane cause radiation exposure? Does the airplane itself not block it?

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eli5 why does riding in an airplane cause radiation exposure? Does the airplane itself not block it?

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Anonymous 0 Comments

The atmosphere blocks out cosmic rays. When you’re flying in a plane, you’re high up in the air where the atmosphere is only about 1/3 as thick as it is at sea level. Less atmosphere = less protection from cosmic rays and to a lesser extent, solar particle radiation. The plane itself doesn’t offer appreciable protection from this radiation.

Just to be clear though, the radiation exposure is *extremely* minimal. The average flyer shouldn’t even bother thinking about it. The only people who should consider it (but certainly not worry about it) are flight crew members who spend decades flying for their jobs.

Anonymous 0 Comments

The airplane walls are pretty thin and made from a light metal, so no, they don’t block much radiation. This exposure is very low though, because the Earth’s magnetic field blocks most of space radiation anyway. Radiation exposure on interplanetary space missions is a whole other deal though.

Anonymous 0 Comments

There was something published (probably a couple of decades ago), calculating the lifetime radiation exposure of a airplane pilot vs. other professions. It was of course higher, but higher by some minuscule number, equivalent to a couple of dental x-rays.

Anonymous 0 Comments

There was something published (probably a couple of decades ago), calculating the lifetime radiation exposure of a airplane pilot vs. other professions. It was of course higher, but higher by some minuscule number, equivalent to a couple of dental x-rays.

Anonymous 0 Comments

The atmosphere blocks out cosmic rays. When you’re flying in a plane, you’re high up in the air where the atmosphere is only about 1/3 as thick as it is at sea level. Less atmosphere = less protection from cosmic rays and to a lesser extent, solar particle radiation. The plane itself doesn’t offer appreciable protection from this radiation.

Just to be clear though, the radiation exposure is *extremely* minimal. The average flyer shouldn’t even bother thinking about it. The only people who should consider it (but certainly not worry about it) are flight crew members who spend decades flying for their jobs.

Anonymous 0 Comments

The atmosphere blocks most of the radiation from space. So if there’s less atmosphere above you, you’ll be exposed to more radiation. And the plane does block it. But you’ll still be exposed to slightly higher levels than when you’re on the ground.

Anonymous 0 Comments

The airplane walls are pretty thin and made from a light metal, so no, they don’t block much radiation. This exposure is very low though, because the Earth’s magnetic field blocks most of space radiation anyway. Radiation exposure on interplanetary space missions is a whole other deal though.

Anonymous 0 Comments

Basically, 10 km of air blocks radiation better than a few cm of aircraft hull. A square metre of air by 10 000 metres is going to weigh several tonnes but a square metre of aircraft hull will only be a few kilograms. Remember, a cubic metre of air at sea level weighs a kilogram.

Anonymous 0 Comments

There was something published (probably a couple of decades ago), calculating the lifetime radiation exposure of a airplane pilot vs. other professions. It was of course higher, but higher by some minuscule number, equivalent to a couple of dental x-rays.

Anonymous 0 Comments

The atmosphere blocks most of the radiation from space. So if there’s less atmosphere above you, you’ll be exposed to more radiation. And the plane does block it. But you’ll still be exposed to slightly higher levels than when you’re on the ground.