The Natural Radiation Background in a Lunar Lava Tube



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48th International Conference on Environmental Systems


The recent announcements of evidence from the U.S. Grail satellite and from the Japanese SELENE (Kaguya) radar soundings of a possible lunar lava tube over 30 kilometers long have enhanced interest in exploiting lunar lava tubes for exploration and habitation. In a paper presented at ICES last year, Turner and Kunkel, 2017, examined the effectiveness of GCR shielding by the lunar regolith overburden covering a lunar lava tube, and found that less than 10 meter depth would reduce the radiation levels to terrestrial levels or lower. But a missing ingredient was the radiation levels produced by natural radionuclides in the walls of a lunar lava tube. This paper examines the possible range of natural (background) radiation levels from common radionuclides, including Thorium, Uranium, and Potassium expected to be present in lunar caves.


Ronald Turner, Analytic Services Inc
Cashen Diniz, Hastings on Hudson High School
ICES503: Radiation Issues for Space Flight
The 48th International Conference on Environmental Systems was held in Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA on 08 July 2018 through 12 July 2018.


Radiation, Lunar Lava Tubes, Natural Radiation Background, Lunar habitats