Detecting cosmic radiation on the way to Mount Everest
When Bob Kerr went on his expedition to Everest Base Camp (North Base Camp in Tibet at 5,150 metres) to measure the background radiation at various altitudes, he took a Kromek GR1 gamma ray radioisotope detector. His intention was to progress radiation protection science by making measurements of cosmic radiation doses received on the whole trip to Everest.
You need a light accurate detector if you are climbing
If you are climbing the highest mountain in the world you want to travel light. The GR1 offered the perfect balance of sensitivity, lower energy range (to capture move isotopes) and high resolution (to make sure the isotopes could be differentiated from each other), ease of use and weight and size – the detector is the size of a chunky lipstick and only weighs 60 grammes. The GR1 uses a 10mm x 10mm x 10mm CZT coplanar-grid detector to give an energy range of 30keV to 3.0 MeV with an energy resolution of 2.0 – 2.5% FWHM @ 66rs2 keV.
The expedition was using a small light laptop PC as its photo storage device with Kromek MSA gamma spectroscopy software installed to provide the analysis of the GR1 reading and store a record of the spectra taken.
The GR1 draws power from the PC USB connection so you don’t have to drag another power supply up a mountain.