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Thread: Solar Constant Radiation

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2017
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    Solar Constant Radiation

    Arguing with an HB. He claims that, because the solar constant of radiation is 1.361 kW/m^2, or 81.65kJ/m^2, that the Apollo astronauts couldn't have survived the trip outside the VARBs. I'm trying to ask him what type of radiation this is, if it's ionizing, what its intensity is as it hits the spacecraft, and how much is left after hitting the aluminum hull of the spacecraft, but haven't gotten anything. Is there a good explanation of why this doesn't pose a threat to the astronauts? One that he might understand?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
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    237
    The solar irradiance on earth's surface is up to ~1 kw/m^2. Why does he attach so much significance to that additional 36% found in space?

    The 2nd value you list should be in units of kJ/m^2/minute; it is just 1.36*60.

    ETA: also, "solar irradiance" refers only to electromagnetic radiation (light). The VAB do no not affect photons.
    Last edited by VQkr; 2018-Aug-03 at 03:42 PM.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
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    Falls Church, VA (near Washington, DC)
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    As a good approximation, that solar radiation would not heat the spacecraft any more than it heats the Earth. The exact amount would depend on the reflectivity of the spacecraft's surface. If he thinks that number is indicative of some hazard other than heat, we would need to know his line of thought, in appropriate technical detail, in order to come up with an appropriate response.

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