This may fall under the category TMI. Sometimes, ignorance is bliss, but if you really have to know the levels of radiation you’re being exposed to on a commercial flight, there’s an app for that.
SpaceWx measures galactic and solar radiation starting at around 16,000 feet. Readings are available by altitude and latitude, with higher readings found at higher altitudes and along polar routes.
Primarily designed for airline pilots and flight crews, the radiation app was developed by Space Environment Technologies, Inc based on data compiled for the Nowcast of Atmospheric Ionizing Radiation for Aviation Safety project.
“Aviation occupational radiation exposure currently is not consistently monitored, measured or quantified,” said Dr. Chris Mertens, a senior scientist at NASA Langley Research Center in Hampton, Va. “This is the first model of its type to do that.”
An average commercial flight cruises at around 30,000 to 40,000 feet. At that altitude, radiation exposure amounts to less than a chest X-ray and is considered safe for the average flyer.
Mertens expressed concern, however, that radiation exposures from multiple daily flights may increase the risk of cancer. The iPhone app will show effective dose rates and color-coded safety bars to indicate risk based on flight time and exposure rates.
SpaceWx updates in real-time, drawing from data from satellites, multiple government agencies, companies, universities and observatories around the globe. Future versions with radiation forecasts and all altitude radiation readings are in development.