Science In Action

Earth's Radiation Belt (1959) - Episode #355, "Earth's Radiation Belts," explored the methods used by scientists at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory to determine the intensity and effects of Van Allen radiation belts surrounding the Earth. This particular episode aired in 1959 -- two years after Soviet dog Laika became the first animal in orbit, two years before Russian cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin completed the first successful human spaceflight, and three years before astronaut John Glenn piloted the Mercury-Atlas 6 around the Earth. In 1959, the question voiced by host Earl Herald was one of the key scientific mysteries at the start of the Space Race: "what [are these radiation belts] going to mean for the first person to take off from the earth as a space traveller?"

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