Exposure to blasts of solar radiation can prove dangerous in the longterm even in small doses.
In 1972, for instance, NASA’s Apollo 16 and Apollo 17 narrowly missed being hit by particles ejected from a solar flare.
Luckily, the solar storm struck right in-between the two missions.
NASA said: “The solar storm of August 1972 is legendary at NASA because it occurred in between two Apollo missions: the crew of Apollo 16 had returned to Earth in April and the crew of Apollo 17 was preparing for a Moon landing in December.”
According to UCLA’s scientists, these solar storms can strike much closer to home due to an effect dubbed magnetic reconnection.
When energy carried by solar winds is transferred into the planet’s magnetosphere, it is turned into heat and accelerates particles to great speeds.