A wee sensor flight-tested onboard the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter offers a light, low-power option for measuring radiation from cosmic rays and other sources that can damage both astronauts' health and space-based hardware, a new study suggests. The device is barely larger than a dime, weighs less than a paperclip, and requires only 3 bits per second to transfer the data it collects. Yet its radiation measurements fall within a few percent of those made by a much larger instrument installed on the same probe that is 300 times as heavy and consumes 25 times more power, a team led by researchers at The Aerospace Corporation in El Segundo, California, reported 14 July in Space Weather . Spacecraft designers could incorporate the sensor into probes where size, power, and bandwidth are at a premium, the researchers say.
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