- Death by Electric Universe. I. EU's Unsolvable Problem
- Death by Electric Universe. II. The Solar Capacitor Model
- Death by Electric Universe. IV. The Z-Pinch (Solar Resistor) Model
- Excuse 1: But the spacecraft is shielded!
- Excuse 2: But Wait! Isn't the total radiated Photon Energy the same as the total Incoming Electron Energy?
- Excuse 3: What about those Drift Electrons?!
- Excuse 4: But a uniform population of drift electrons would be undetectable!
- Excuse 5: But Plasmas are Non-Linear!
- Excuse 6: We could do it if we had NASA's budget
- Excuse 7: It's not Important for Electric Sun Models
Most of 'justatruthseeker's supporting links are strangely irrelevant to the actual issue of the particle flux needed for an electric sun, diverting off into magnetic monopoles and magnetic shielding which have no relevance to the topic. This is a popular tactic of pseudoscientists and supporters to divert the discussion away from a point where they are clearly losing.
But back to the points claimed by 'JustATruthSeeker':
1) Spacecraft are shielded and so the astronauts are protected.
JustATruthSeeker: "And yet despite all your claims all spacecraft and spacesuits are heavily shielded against radiation so those astronaughts don't get fried, funny how that works huh? And apparently TB isn't aware of tests done."2) In the event of a particularly energetic event, there are shelters to provide more protection where the astronauts can safely 'ride out the storm'
JustATruthSeeker: "When in space and storms errupt, astronauts head to specially shielded rooms."There are numerous conceptual and physical errors in these excuses. One wonders if JustATruthSeeker even read the links they provided. As I will illustrate below, they clearly did not bother to check the numbers or the measurements, a common failure with crank science claims.
The major area of misunderstandings about the radiation environment created by an Electric Sun:
1) The high radiation environment of an electric sun is running continuously. This is not a case of heading for the heavy shelter for occasional events. The astronauts would have to be in the heavy shelter all the time.
2) The particle environment needed to power a star electrically is far higher than that created by any measured solar proton event - and again, is running continuously, not in episodes.
3) The shielding needed to protect astronauts in an electric sun environment is far larger than anything we've used before.
along with myths about radiation in general...
1) There is no 'all protecting' method of shielding from radiation that is practical. If there were, numerous problems in space flight such as human trips to Mars, and nuclear power generation and waste disposal, would not be problems at all.
2) Protection from radiation depends on amount of shielding and the type and amount of radiation. Shielding that is effective for the nuclear medicine division in your local hospital would be insufficient protection from the particle radiation of a solar flare for an orbiting astronaut or a nuclear worker.
As I have noted many times before, a successful model is defined as one where it can make numerical predictions (derived from more fundamental established principles) which can be matched to actual measurements. So let's get a better idea of what's happening by applying some numbers of the problem. I described the method of computing the radiation dose required for one model of an electrically-powered star in the previous article. At the orbit of the Earth, I obtained a radiation flux from just the electrons of:
(Note 1 rad = 0.01 sieverts)
Rads: 10.5 rads/s = 38,000 rads/hour
= 912,000 rads/day
Sieverts: 0.105 Sv/s = 105 mSv/s
= 380 Sv/hour
= 9,100 Sv/day
= 9,100,000 mSv/day
Since we are examining electrons, the Q-factor is one, so the biological effectiveness of the radiation, in REMS (wikipedia), is equal to the exposure in rads.
It is worth noting that these numbers represent the LOW limit of the radiation exposure as I have only used the incoming electrons, accelerated by the claimed billion-volt potential, in the calculation. If I included the outbound protons, also being accelerated by this potential, it would result in even higher radiation doses because protons have a higher biological effectiveness, Q-factor, than electrons. I'll leave that as an exercise for the reader - such a computation should be easily within the capabilities of a high-school physics student, but apparently beyond the capability of Electric Universe 'theorists'.
As also noted in the original article, we can define a limiting exposure above which our astronauts will suffer major health effects.
Above about 300 rads in one hour, you can expect serious health problems, and it gets worse with higher dosage.
Fatal dose 300 rads = 3 Sv = 3000 mSv
The radiation environment professionals have all kinds of strange units. One of the biggest difficulties in these analyses are making sure my units are consistent, and this is important (see Unit Mixups). Here's a few notes about the units used:
Explained: rad, rem, sieverts, becquerels: A guide to terminology about radiation exposure
1 gray (Gy) = 100 rad
1 rad = 10 milligray (mGy)
1 sievert (Sv) = 1,000 millisieverts (mSv) = 1,000,000 microsieverts (μSv)
1 sievert = 100 rem
1 becquerel (Bq) = 1 count per second (cps)
1 curie = 37,000,000,000 becquerel = 37 Gigabecquerels (GBq)
For x-rays and gamma rays, 1 rad = 1 rem = 10 mSv
For neutrons, 1 rad = 5 to 20 rem (depending on energy level) = 50-200 mSv
For alpha radiation (helium-4 nuclei), 1 rad = 20 rem = 200 mSv
Then there is also the question of what happens to spacecraft instrumentation (Solar Storms by Sten Odenwald).
"damage to sensitive electrical components becomes a problem at about 30,000 rads, considerably more than a satellite would accumulate in a typical 10- to 15-year lifetime."Note that in the radiation environment needed to power an electric sun, you exceed this amount of radiation in less than an hour if the effective target area of your electronics was equivalent to the size of a human!
Comparison of Electric Sun Particle Fluxes to the Actual Space Environment
Let's compare the electric flux needed to power the electric sun to some actual space environment measurements. As already noted in the original article, the flux and energies are far higher than anything we've measured from spacecraft anywhere in the solar system, including the Earth's radiation belts.
Note that the average exposure of all crews (shielded) amounted to between 0.26-2.1 mSv PER DAY (NASA: JSC-29295) from Project Mercury through Apollo and the Shuttle Program.
This is one millionth of the continuous radiation exposure required to power an Electric Sun (about 9 million milliSieverts).
In the next section, we'll start checking out the shielding requirements to reduce the exposure by an electric sun to the level experienced by flight crews.
- Forecasting Solar Energetic Proton events (E > 10 MeV)
- Wikipedia: Solar Proton Events
- Sickening Solar Flares
- Sickening Solar Flares. II. January 20, 2005 solar flare. 50 REM would have been absorbed by an astronaut in space suit from this single event. This was one of the largest measured events at the time, yet the exposure is still less than what you would get from an electric sun in less than ten seconds!
- NASA Technical Paper 2869: Solar-Flare Shielding with Regolith at a Lunar-Base Site. The August 1972 flare, provided a 500 REM unshielded dose over several hours, about 100 REM/hour. At an Electric Sun continuous rate of 38,000 rads/hour, we see even this flare's radiation would be lost in the radiation of an Electric Sun.
The notion that the existing shielding on spacecraft are sufficient to protect astronauts from the particle environment of an electric Sun is looking like a pipe dream.
Shielding from an Electric Sun
Radiation exposure depends on particle flux (total number of particles passing through body) and energy of those particles. It is possible to reduce radiation exposure by increasing distance from the source, reducing the time of exposure, or increasing shielding shielding of sensitive hardware and crew.
Since we want to operate in space for significant durations of time, what kind of sheilding would be needed to protect astronauts from the radiation environments of an electric sun? How much shielding would be needed to reduce the unshielded radiation environment outside a spacecraft down to the level we've measured for astronaut exposure?
We want to reduce the radiation exposure from the EU particle environment from 912,000 rads/day to 2 rads/day, we must reduce the flux by a factor of 912,000/2.0 = 456,000, about half a million.
Since radiation absorption is a statistical process, we can compute the number of 'half-thicknesses' of shielding material needed to reduce the flux by this amount, 456000 = 2^n. Solving for n gives n = 18.8. Therefore, the total thickness of material we need is the half-thickness distance of the material, multiplied by about 19.
I'll use the halving thickness values in the table at Wikipedia: Radiation Protection. For lead, we see that the halving-thickness for gamma rays is 1 cm, and for steel, is 2.5 cm. Materials with lighter atomic numbers (such as those made into space suits) are not as effective. These will be useful reference values since gamma rays have the same Q value as electrons.
To reduce the radiation flux of an electric sun from 912,000 rads/day to 2 rads/day, we would need
(1cm) * 19 = 19 cm of solid lead
(2.5 cm) * 19 = 47 cm (almost half a meter or 1.5 feet) of solid steel
in a shell around the crew cabin.
That's significantly thicker, and heavier, than any spacecraft hull we've built to date!
Good luck getting that heavy thing off the ground!
(Still Unmet) Challenge for Electric Sun Advocates
'JustATruthSeeker', like so many other ES supporters, bizarrely uses the smaller actual radiation hazard as evidence that their model does not have a radiation problem.
The fact that space flight does not have this severe radiation problem is evidence that the particles and currents required to power an electric sun do not exist.
By what EU mysticism do all these electrons and protons become so undetectable, contrary to our laboratory experience? (The popular excuse of 'dark current' just means the effects are not visible in the optical range - radio, infrared, UV, x-ray or direct particle detectors are options).
The problem for Electric Sun supporters is that REAL space scientists run space weather models ROUTINELY to protect astronauts and other NASA assets around the solar system. Here's a snapshot from the continually updating projections generated at the NOAA Space Weather Prediction Center (SWPC)
These models don't have Electric Sun-powering 'currents' in them and yet provide fairly accurate predictions for event arrival time and particle flux needed to protect those satellites, all around the solar system. I've worked with these types of models propagated out to the orbit of Saturn.
Where are Electric Sun model runs for these events that we can compare to actual data?
Perhaps EUers want to invoke Excuse 6 above?
If Electric Sun supporters can't provide the algorithm for computing these predictions, then Electric Sun models are useless. This is the Electric Sun Epic Fail they evade talking about!
How about a more concrete, and simpler, practical example (mentioned in the earlier post, Death by Electric Universe. I. EU's Unsolvable Problem)…
A new mission called Solar Probe Plus (Wikipedia) is being built that will go on a trajectory sending it as close as 8.5 solar radii from the solar photosphere. Details of the radiation environment are vital for the successful operation of this mission. What kind of shielding does it need to be successful according to the Electric Sun model?
Electric Sun supporters like to claim their 'theory' of the Sun's operation solves all solar 'problems'. If Electric Sun supporters can't answer this basic question of how to shield the spacecraft, when the standard model of the solar wind can, then what good is their theory?
If Electric Sun supporters can't answer these fundamental question of practical implication for space flight, how can they claim their model is superior? Even more important, how can they be competent to be involved in a space program considering this affects the integrity of every satellite and the life of every astronaut?
What will be their excuse THIS time?
Update: July 21, 2013. Fixed a few typos