The event took place on October 28, 2021
Astronomers have detected a solar eruption that struck Earth, Moon, and Mars simultaneously for the first time on October 28, 2021. According to a report by the Independent, the solar storm, was spread over such a wide area that Mars and Earth received an influx of energetic particles from the sun.
According to a new study published on Wednesday in the journal Geographical Research Letters, thismarked the first time that a solar event was measured simultaneously on the surfaces of Earth, the moon, and Mars.
The event is an example of a rare ''ground level enhancement'', as per scientists.
During these events, particles from the Sun are energetic enough to pass through the magnetic bubble that surrounds Earth and protects us from less energetic solar outbursts.
Notably, Moon and Mars do not generate their own magnetic fields, so particles from the Sun can easily reach their surfaces, and even interact with the soil to generate secondary radiation. In comparison, Mars does have a thin atmosphere that stops most of the lower energy solar particles and slows down the highly energetic ones, explained European Space Agency.
Understanding such solar events and their impact on the human body is important, according to scientists, as the moon and Mars are the focus of future human exploration.
A radiation dose above 700 milligrays may induce radiation sickness in astronauts. That leads to the destruction of the bone marrow, resulting in symptoms such as infection and internal bleeding.
"Space radiation can create a real danger to our exploration throughout the solar system. Measurements of high-level radiation events by robotic missions are critical to prepare for long-duration crewed missions. Thanks to data from missions like ExoMars TGO we can prepare for how best to protect our human explorers, ExoMars TGO project scientist, Colin Wilson, said in a statement.
However, the radiation dose in lunar orbit from the October 2021 solar event, as measured by Nasa's LRO, was only about 31 milligray and was not dangerous for astronauts.
“Our calculations of the past ground level enhancement events show that on average one event every 5.5 years may have exceeded the safe dose level on the Moon if no radiation protection had been provided. Understanding these events is crucial for future crewed missions to the surface of the Moon,” study co-author Jingnan Guo said.