In the movie Contact, the billionaire owner of Hadden industries lives on an airplane that is almost always airborne. He later moves to the Russian space station, Mir, saying the low gravity and low oxygen environment is the only thing keeping his cancer from eating him alive.
- Why would Hadden expect to live longer if he was on airplane all the time?
- Why would he expect to live longer if he was on a space station?
According to the XKCD radiation chart, a person traveling by plane from New York to Los Angeles can expect to get 40 micro-sieverts of radiation. Multiply that by 4 * 365 to estimate the radiation incurred by somebody who lives aloft all the time. That's 58.4 millisieverts which is more than the annual maximum radiation exposure (50 millisieverts) allowed for people who work near reactors. When he blasts off to live on Mir, his radiation exposure should be even higher. Hadden should be smart enough to live underground, not on an airplane.