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Air travel has become, for a privileged few in the world, almost routine. The procedure of flying is so uniform and recognisable, almost habitual, that people have made terrible, terrible comedy shows about it. What you may not be aware of is the increased exposure to radiation up in and above the clouds. We fly up significantly closer to the outer limits of the earth's atmosphere while cruising at 39,000 feet, and up there we are far more likely to come into contact with cosmic atomic particles. When we're on the ground, we're less likely to come into contact with these, due to the magnetic field surrounding our planet. As Nasa says of these particles :. Particles with sufficient energy, ... Full story

2 January