Traveling the skies by jet lifts us far from the hustle and bustle of the world below. From a report: But many flyers don’t know that soaring miles above Earth also takes us out of a vital protective cocoon — and a little closer to a place where our cells can be pummeled by radiation from colliding stars, black holes, and more. You can’t see these high-energy charged particles, but at any given moment, tens of thousands of them are soaring through space and slamming into Earth’s atmosphere from all directions. Also called cosmic rays or cosmic ionizing radiation, the particles are the cores of atoms, such as iron and nickel, moving at nearly light-speed. They can travel for millions of years through space before randomly hitting Earth. These rays don’t pose much of a risk to humans on Earth’s surface, since the planet’s atmosphere and magnetic field shield us from most of the threat.
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