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NASA Predicts Radiation Risks

NASA is using the International Space Station to develop capabilities to predict space radiation exposure for future exploration missions.

“We wanted to know if it is possible to detect and measure radiation exposure damage in the bodies of astronauts, and if there were differences based on age, sex, and other factors that could be measured before they go into space,” said senior scientist Honglu Wu from NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston. “We hope to use these measurements to help develop and compare methods of protecting astronauts from radiation.”

Space radiation originates from three primary sources: particles trapped in the Earth’s magnetic field, particles shot into space during solar flares, and galactic cosmic rays, which originate outside our solar system. Exposure to radiation can increase the risk of developing cancer, alterations to the central nervous system, cardiovascular disease, and other adverse health effects. Life on Earth is protected from most space radiation by the planet’s atmosphere and magnetic field.

Science fiction writers have long been concerned about radiation risks in space. Rocket scientist and writer Max Valier described a fanciful method in his 1931 classic A Daring Trip To Mars:

"My greatest concern is whether the insulating stratum of ozone which is between the double walls of our cabin in order to check the deadly short-wave gamma rays of space, would prove effective."
(Via Ozone Radiation Shield)

Thanks to @nyrath for pointing this story out.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 8/17/2021)

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