To analyze the applicability of direct insertion of total suspended matter (TSM) concentration field based on turbidity derived from satellite data to numerical simulation, dispersion studies of suspended matter in Lake Säkylän Pyhäjärvi (lake area 154 km²; mean depth 5.4 m) were conducted using the 3D COHERENS simulation model. To evaluate the practicality of direct insertion, five cases with different initialization frequencies were conducted: (1) every time, when satellite data were available; (2) every 10 days; (3) 20 days; (4) 30 days; and (5) control run without repeated initialization. To determine the effectiveness of initialization frequency, three methods of comparison were used: simple spatial differences of TSM concentration without biomass in the lake surface layer; averaged spatial differences between initialization data and the forecasts; and time series of TSM concentration and observation data at 1 m depth at the deepest point of the lake. Results showed that direct insertion improves the forecast significantly, even if it is applied less often.
Exploration Class missions to Mars will require precautions against potential contamination by any native microorganisms that may be incidentally pathogenic to humans. While the results of NASA's Viking biology experiments of the 1970s have been generally interpreted as inconclusive for surface organisms, and attributed to active but nonbiological chemistries, the possibility of native surface life has never been ruled out completely. It is possible that, prior to the first human landing on Mars, robotic craft and sample return missions will provide enough data to know with certainty whether future human landing sites harbor extant life forms. If native life were found to exist, it would be problematic to determine whether any of its species might present a medical danger to astronauts. Therefore, it will become necessary to assess empirically the risk that the planet contains pathogens based on terrestrial examples of pathogenicity and to take a reasonably cautious approach to biohazard protection. A survey of terrestrial pathogens was conducted with special emphasis on those whose evolution has not depended on the presence of animal hosts. The history of the development and implementation of Apollo anti-contamination protocol and recommendations of the National Research Council's Space Studies Board regarding Mars were reviewed. Organisms can emerge in Nature in the absence of indigenous animal hosts and both infectious and non-infectious human pathogens are therefore theoretically possible on Mars. Although remote, the prospect of Martian surface life, together with the existence of a diversity of routes by which pathogenicity has emerged on Earth, suggests that the probability of human pathogens on Mars, while low, is not zero. Still, since the discovery and study of Martian life can have long-term benefits for humanity, the risk that Martian life might include pathogens should not be an obstacle to human exploration. As a precaution, it is recommended that EVA (extravehicular activity) suits be decontaminated when astronauts enter surface habitats upon returning from field activity and that biosafety protocols approximating laboratory BSL 2 be developed for astronauts working in laboratories on the Martian surface. Quarantine of astronauts and Martian materials arriving on Earth should also be part of a human mission to Mars, and this and the surface biosafety program should be integral to human expeditions from the earliest stages of the mission planning.
Tundra swans (Cygnus columbianus) like many waterfowl species are susceptible to lead (Pb) poisoning, and Pb-induced mortality has been reported from many areas of their wintering range. Little is known however about Pb levels throughout the annual cycle of tundra swans, especially during summer when birds are on remote northern breeding areas where they are less likely to be exposed to anthropogenic sources of Pb. Our objective was to document summer Pb levels in tundra swans throughout their breeding range in Alaska to determine if there were population-specific differences in blood Pb concentrations that might pose a threat to swans and to humans that may consume them. We measured blood Pb concentrations in tundra swans at five locations in Alaska, representing birds that winter in both the Pacific Flyway and Atlantic Flyway. We also marked swans at each location with satellite transmitters and coded neck bands, to identify staging and wintering sites and determine if winter site use correlated with summer Pb concentrations. Blood Pb levels were generally low (
Measurements using bubble detectors have been performed in order to characterise the neutron dose and energy spectrum in the Russian segment of the International Space Station (ISS). Experiments using bubble dosemeters and a bubble-detector spectrometer, a set of six detectors with different energy thresholds that is used to determine the neutron spectrum, were performed during the ISS-22 (2009) to ISS-33 (2012) missions. The spectrometric measurements are in good agreement with earlier data, exhibiting expected features of the neutron energy spectrum in space. Experiments using a hydrogenous radiation shield show that the neutron dose can be reduced by shielding, with a reduction similar to that determined in earlier measurements using bubble detectors. The bubble-detector data are compared with measurements performed on the ISS using other instruments and are correlated with potential influencing factors such as the ISS altitude and the solar activity. Surprisingly, these influences do not seem to have a strong effect on the neutron dose or energy spectrum inside the ISS.
Bubble detectors have been used to characterise the neutron dose and energy spectrum in several modules of the International Space Station (ISS) as part of an ongoing radiation survey. A series of experiments was performed during the ISS-34, ISS-35, ISS-36 and ISS-37 missions between December 2012 and October 2013. The Radi-N2 experiment, a repeat of the 2009 Radi-N investigation, included measurements in four modules of the US orbital segment: Columbus, the Japanese experiment module, the US laboratory and Node 2. The Radi-N2 dose and spectral measurements are not significantly different from the Radi-N results collected in the same ISS locations, despite the large difference in solar activity between 2009 and 2013. Parallel experiments using a second set of detectors in the Russian segment of the ISS included the first characterisation of the neutron spectrum inside the tissue-equivalent Matroshka-R phantom. These data suggest that the dose inside the phantom is ~70% of the dose at its surface, while the spectrum inside the phantom contains a larger fraction of high-energy neutrons than the spectrum outside the phantom. The phantom results are supported by Monte Carlo simulations that provide good agreement with the empirical data.
Doses from space ionizing radiation were estimated using a model of ISS cosmonaut's quarters (CQ) outfitted with secondary shielding ("Protective shutter" (PS) as part of experiment MATRYOSHKA-R). Protective shutter is a "blanket" of water-containing material with mass thickness of - 6 g/cm2 covering the CQ exterior wall. Calculation was performed specifically for locations of experimental dosimetry assemblies. Agreement of calculations and experimental data reaching accuracy - 15% proves model applicability to estimating protective effectiveness of secondary shielding in the present-day and future space vehicles. This shielding may reduce radiation loading onto crewmembers as an equivalent dose by more than 40% within a broad range of orbit altitudes equally during the solar minimum and maximum.
The top priority in America's manned space flight program is the assurance of crew and vehicle safety. This priority gained greater focus during and after the Space Shuttle return-to-flight mission (STS-26). One of the interesting challenges has been to assure crew safety and adequate protection of the Space Shuttle, as a national resource, from increasingly diverse cargoes and operations. The control of hazards associated with the deployment of complex payloads and cargoes has involved many international participants. These challenges are examined in some detail along with examples of how crew safety has evolved in the manned space program and how the international partners have addressed various scenarios involving control and mitigation of potential hazards to crew and vehicle safety.