About the Project

Dates: 2012-2013

Location: Across Canada

Project Type: Data Collection

Grade Level: High School

How to Join: Closed, but data and lesson plans can still be accessed

One of the experiments that Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield was responsible for during his stay on the International Space Station from December 2012 until May 2013 ws RaDI-N2. This experiment measures astronauts’ exposure to potentially dangerous neutron radiation using innovative Canadian technology. CurioCity, in collaboration with the Canadian Space Agency, developed the RaDI-N2 & You Action Project to engage Canadian classrooms in a similar experiment.

On the ISS

As you can see from Chris’ data below, the International Space Station is being bombarded by neutron radiation!

If 130 bubbles over a week sounds like a lot of bubbles, try calculating how many bubbles Chris would have seen if he was using one of the more sensitive bubble detectors we are using on Earth. In our office, our bubble detector is calibrated to 47b/mrem and we saw 10 bubbles for the week of December 27, 2012 – January 3, 2013, giving us a neutron exposure of 0.213 mrem (compared to Chris’ 126 mrem). If we were exposed to as much radiation as Chris Hadfield for the week of December 27, 2012-January 3, 2013, we would have seen 5922 bubbles!

Chris Hadfield and the crew of the International Space Station were exposed to almost 592 times as much neutron radiation as we were in London, Ontario during that week. (which Chris himself explains here)

Chris' exposure was multiplied by a space calibration factor for better comparison with data collected in classrooms. What is the Space Calibration Factor? Since bubble tubes are calibrated on earth, and taken into space, we have to include a multiplier that takes into account this environmental difference.

Experiment
Start Date End Date Bubble Count Sensitivity* (b/mrem) Calculated Exposure ** (mrem)
ISS - 34/35 Session 4
(Node 2)
05/03/2013 12/03/2013 114 0.94 121
ISS - 34/35 Session 3
(US Laboratory)
11/02/2013 18/02/2013 140 0.94 148
ISS - 34/35 Session 2
(Japanese Experiment Module)
18/01/2013 25/01/2013 118 0.94 126
ISS - 34/35 Session 1 (Columbus) 27/12/2012 03/01/2013 130 0.94 138
*Sensitivity includes space calibration factor of 1.62

** This was corrected to include the Space Calibration Factor. This means that Chris' exposure, in comparative measure to schools on earth, was even higher than we had previously reported.

 

Photo Credit:
Robert Thirsk - NASA via Canadian Space Agency

Commander Chris Hadfield's RaDI-N2 experiment on the International Space Station (ISS) is Canada's second generation of neutron radiation monitoring aboard the ISS. Commander Hadfield's experiment continues on where fellow Canadian astronaut Robert Thirsk and the original RaDI-N experiment left off in 2009.

Let's Talk Science thanks the Canadian Space Agency for providing Dr. Thirsk's data from 2009 for classrooms to use in their comparison data.



Experiment Start Date End Date Bubble Count Sensitivity * (b/mrem) Exposure * (mrem)
ISS - 20/21 Session 3 (Japanese experiment module - in water shielding) 09/11/2009 16/11/2009 65 0.86 76
ISS - 20/21 Session 2
(US Laboratory)
03/10/2009 10/10/2009 141 0.86 164
ISS - 20/21 Session 1
(Columbus)
06/09/2009 13/09/2009 107 0.86 124


* Includes space calibration factor of 1.62

 

Comparing Results

RADI-N2's dataset is being converted into a data set that all teachers can use. Check back soon for news on how to do so!

Educator Resources

The RADI-N2 educator guide is also being modified into a dataset that can be used without collecting data yourself. However, there are still useful resources related to radiation, data collection and more available for the original project.

View the RADI-N2 educator guide

This content is provided through Let's Talk Science's Education Services team.