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‘Radiation clouds’ could put air travellers’ health at risk by DOUBLING their exposure to cosmic radioactivity via Daily Mail

  • Nasa researchers flew radiation sensors onboard 264 research flights
  • On six occasions the sensors detected high levels of cosmic radiation
  • They believe that ‘radiation clouds’ may be trapping cosmic rays
  • High exposure to ionising radiation can cause a range of health problems, including cancer and reproductive issues 

Researchers have discovered that these mysterious clouds, if exposed to for long enough, could damage passenger health.

The regions of high radioactivity expose travellers to up to 7.4 micrograys of radiation while travelling through them – double the dose rates normally absorbed.

High exposure to ionising radiation can cause a range of health problems, including cancer and reproductive issues.

But researchers say that while we should avoid these clouds where possible, there is no need to panic. 

The overall risk of high-altitude radiation for regular travellers is low.

A flight across the US is equivalent to getting one chest X-ray. Flying through a radiation cloud would double the exposure but only for a brief period of time. 


Researchers have long known that air travellers absorb radiation during flights.

Cosmic rays crashing into the Earth’s atmosphere create a range of particles, including protons, electrons, X-rays and gamma-rays that can penetrate aircraft.

One thousand-mile frequent flyers can absorb as much radiation as 20 chest X-rays.


In a 2015 flight from southern Chile to the Antarctic, the ARMAS flight module recorded a two times increase in ionizing radiation for about 30 minutes while the plane flew 11 km (36,000 feet) over the Antarctic Peninsula.

No solar storm was occurring at the time, and the plane did not make any abrupt movements of direction, but despite this, the ambient radiation changed dramatically.

Similar findings were seen during flights off the coast of Washington state.

The researchers are unsure what is causing these surges, but have suggested ‘radiation clouds’ may be trapping cosmic rays.

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