Effects of Cosmic Rays

Discussion in 'Astronomy, Exobiology, & Cosmology' started by Kumar, May 18, 2004.

  1. Kumar

    Kumar Registered Senior Member

    Hello,
    Can you tell me what are the biological effects of cosmic rays/radiations on humans on earth? You may tell it in two parts (1) Sunlight (2) Other cosmic rays.

    Is it true that we do not have any measurable biological effects on humans of cosmic rays at present levels of radiation on earth (other than sunlight)?

    Best wishes.
     
    Last edited: May 18, 2004
  2. John Connellan

    John Connellan Registered loser

    The biological effects of sunlight are well documented. Some of them good and most of them bad. Cosmic rays would act like low level x-radiation on our bodies. Another form of free radical generator.
     
  3. Kumar

    Kumar Registered Senior Member

    John Connellan, Thanks for reply. But do the cosmic rays(other than Sunlight) practically/really effect us?
     
  4. blackholesun

    blackholesun Registered Senior Member

    Since cosmic rays are ionizing they can damage our DNA causing mutations that can ultimately lead to cancer; but it takes time to do that here on earth's surface. So yeah they can effect us if cosmic rays hit us but our bodies do have a good molecular repairers that can help limit the damage given a collision.
     
  5. Pete

    Pete It's not rocket surgery

    I think it is safe to say that a very few people will be indirectly killed by cosmic rays (through cancer).

    I think that all people are likely to have individual cells affected by cosmic rays occasionally, but that most of these affects will not spread beyond the cell.
     
  6. Kumar

    Kumar Registered Senior Member

    But do we get exposure to so many cosmic rays here on earth which can regularily hit us & causes mutations,cancer etc.?
     
  7. John Connellan

    John Connellan Registered loser

    There are many cosmic rays all the time but what Pete is talking about is that there are rather few interactions between these and our bodies. Most of them pass right through us!
     
  8. Kumar

    Kumar Registered Senior Member

    But when these passes right through our body, don't these causes damages first & then passes through our body? Is there any change in numbers of interactions nowadays due to current environment changes? Can there be any beneficial effect of few interactions of these cosmic rays ( as speculated in Reiki or other sprituals).
     
  9. blackholesun

    blackholesun Registered Senior Member

    No, they don't always interact is what John is saying. Sometimes they just pass through our bodies. Remember, comics rays are so penetrative because they can pass through matter without interacting with it....most of the time. They are high energy but they have a very small wavelength.
     
  10. John Connellan

    John Connellan Registered loser

    I can't imagine any positive effect of cosmic rays Kumar. I think that is for the spiritual world to speculate!
     
  11. BigBlueHead

    BigBlueHead Great Tealnoggin!

    There was one case of cosmic rays turning a family of astronauts into superheroes...

    "It's clobberin' time!" - The Thing

    (Not John Carpenter's The Thing, it just went "Argh".)
     
  12. blackholesun

    blackholesun Registered Senior Member

    Not JUST the thing but the entire Fantastic Four!

    The Carpenter's Thing went more "SCREEEEECH"
     
  13. Kumar

    Kumar Registered Senior Member

    Thanks for informations. It these cosmic rays are scattered so widely that the chances are very low of there hitting us? Can any substance stop their penetrating/passing spped or hitting the body, just say silica. Astronauts uses some protective measures from these cosmic rays.
     
  14. John Connellan

    John Connellan Registered loser

    No there are plenty of rays. I think its more the fact that WE are spread so widely that they rarely interact with us!

    I doubt that any material on earth would significantly reduce the amount of rays penetrating :)
     
  15. Kumar

    Kumar Registered Senior Member

    John Connellan,
    "No there are plenty of rays. I think its more the fact that WE are spread so widely that they rarely interact with us!"

    This is not clear to me. Will you pls explain it.
     
  16. Nasor

    Nasor Valued Senior Member

    Kumar: we are probably all hit by many rays every day, but the chances of any given ray causing us health problems is very small.
     
  17. Starthane Xyzth

    Starthane Xyzth returns occasionally...

    Cosmic rays have been recorded at the bottom of mine shafts, and can typically penetrate 18 feet of lead. Still fairly mild penetrative power compared with neutrinos!

    Solar UV radiation, and radioactive materials in the Earth's crust, are far more likely to cause mutations or cancers in people than cosmic rays. Only if a nearby star became a supernova would extra-Solar radiation have a dramatic effect on Earthly life.
     
  18. Kumar

    Kumar Registered Senior Member

    Can we conclude now that there is practically no biological effect of cosmic rays(other than sun-light) on humans living on earth at their current levels?

    If it is true, then, can we say that whatever cosmic effect mentioned in various spritual systems is not from out of body or from cosmic but it can be a ' with in the body' effect?
     
  19. John Connellan

    John Connellan Registered loser

    Sorry Kumar, been away from this thread for so long!

    Ok what I mean is that there are plenty of rays and as Nasor pointed out, many of them might hit us directly (i.e. an atom in our body) but really there ais so much space that we are made of (from the cosmic rays point of view) that it will just pass right through us without interacting!
     
  20. Kumar

    Kumar Registered Senior Member

    Whatever is there but it means that these will not effect us & we can conclude as I mentioned in my previous posting.
     

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