Pioneer 10 Jovian Encounter: Radiation Dose and Implications for Biological Lethality

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Science  28 Feb 1975:
Vol. 187, Issue 4178, pp. 738-739
DOI: 10.1126/science.187.4178.738


In its recent Jupiter flyby Pioneer 10 passed through a belt of intense particulate radiation. The radiation dose on the outer surface of the spacecraft was at least 4.9 x 105 rads from electrons plus 2.9 x 106 rads from protons, sufficient to cause significant microbial decontamination. The radiation dose inside Pioneer 10, approximately 2.8 x 105 rads, was less likely to cause microbial decontamination but would be lethal to man and to most multicellular biological organisms.