Ask Matt Damon – getting to Mars can expose you to dangerous levels of radiation.
But what about my next business trip ?
Well I am writing this at close to sea level and a latitude of 51.5 degrees (London).
That means I am protected from the nasty stuff in space by almost all the Earth’s atmosphere and also by its magnetic field.
If I go high in the sky in an aeroplane I lose some of that protection and it gets worse if I fly near the poles – worse still if I fly during a Solar storm.
15 years ago the BBC reported that 34 transatlantic flights would double the normal UK residents dose of radiation – I think that works out to about 220 hours in flight. However NASA in 2009 worried that ignoring the extra dosage associated with flying close to the poles would underestimate the dosage by up to 300%. 1
Now we could start asking airlines to estimate the radiation dosage on a given flight – maybe the CO2 per km too. Both would be pretty simple to measure, and I suspect both would be higher if you are using a nice flat bed in business class !
I can’t see that happening soon but it does seem to me that you really will be getting a lot more if you are aiming for a Silver or Gold airline card.
Of course this is one of the reasons why most of my business travel is done using video…