As a radiation particle blasts through an electronic circuit, it leaves behind a trail of ions. The ions disrupt the flow of electricity in the circuit, causing the circuit to malfunction.
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Original artwork by Windows to the Universe staff.
Radiation Can Damage Electronics
Radiation can damage electronic circuits. Radiation can also cause electronics to malfunction.
Radiation can damage the materials used in electronics over time. That can make the electronics wear out sooner. For example, solar panels used on spacecraft make less electricity as they get older. The radiation in space slowly degrades the solar panels.
Radiation can also disrupt the flow of electricity in electronic circuits. This can cause the electronics to send "phantom commands". It can also change the information stored in a computer's memory circuits.
The effect of radiation on electronics is a big deal for people who build spacecraft. Spacecraft use a lot of electronics. Spacecraft are also exposed to more radiation than most machinery on Earth.
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