FSpaceRPG article

Status: Official

In 2197AD, 1324 people lost their lives on the moon and in near lunar orbit due to exposure to extreme solar radiation and plasma.

By the end of the century, outposts, industry and habitation on the moon was becoming common place, but not without risks. The radiation from solar flare events has always posed a risk for any spaceflight, and residing on planetary bodies without sufficient native magnetic shielding carries the same risk.

Most ships and bases were built with solar storm shelters for longer duration missions - most designed to cope with longer storm events that occur now and then.

However, Coronal Mass Ejections (CME) where the sun throws off billions of tonnes of high speed plasma is an extreme risk that engineering hadn’t catered for except for the deepest of underground shelters on the moon at the time.

In 2197, the sun ejected a CME towards the Earth Moon system. Fortunately for Earth the plasma cloud only gave it a glancing blow, one the main radiation belts were able to cope with and only some astronauts suffered moderate extra radiation. However the CME plasma cloud edge did hit the Moon with a hard blow. The sun facing portion at the time was sandblasted, loosing millions of tonnes of mass, and increasing the ionisation of due to create a temporary tenuous atmosphere of charged particles.

Unfortunately, even with solar weather monitoring stations and advanced warnings, many scattered prospecting and exploration teams were caught in areas with insufficient rock shielding, a Lagrange station was cleansed of half it’s personnel due to the inadequacy of it’s shielding and the rest died later of radiation sickness. Even personnel stationed at some of the lunar stations with shelters suffered because of airlock and other systems failures due to the plasma and ionising radiation that damaged the habitats they were in.

The death toll was spread across nations and corporations, and resulted in a global day of mourning that year. Even today, Lunar residents continue to mark the event as a solemn work holiday.

Selene Mining and military interests in the years following helped harden bases further, institute building codes for any lunar habitation, and worked with contractors hearthside to produce improved designs for rover and space habitats to better protect their personnel. Prior cost cutting on some of the Lagrange station work by US Congressional Committees was reversed rapidly, and many other government funded projects also dud the same.

Today newer magnetic shielding technology helps improve the resiliency in such an event, but has yet to be tested, as no CME since then has made it’s way past any inhabited zone. However it is just a matter of time.

Fortunately some of the new shielding technology has been given a workout in close solar probes and within the radiation belts Jupiter projects around the Gallilean moons.

Categories: Terran History

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