Space Radiation Effects on Crew During and After Deep Space Missions
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Overview and perspectives are provided of radiation hazards associated with deep space human missions, such as to Mars.
Significant associations between radiation dose and effects of principal concern from space radiation (cancer, cardiovascular, CNS) have not yet been detected in astronauts. Therefore, estimates of radiation-induced health consequences from extended deep space missions are based on studies available from radiation-exposed human populations on Earth (e.g., A-bomb survivors) supplemented with data from biological experiments (primarily rodents) using space-type radiations obtained at specialized radiation facilities. This approach (the best available at this time) has large uncertainties, which strongly influence the number of days permitted in deep space.
Based on current NASA risk limits, the length of time permitted in space may not be sufficient for a human mission to Mars, even with substantial shielding of the spacecraft. Risk mitigation strategies beyond shielding may therefore be required. Research is continuing to advance in these and related fields.
KeywordsRadiation Space Astronaut Health effects Mars
Work performed under the auspices of the Space Biosciences Division, NASA Ames Research Center, Mountain View, CA.
Compliance with Ethical Standards
Conflict of Interest
Dr. Straume declares no conflicts of interest.
Human and Animal Rights and Informed Consent
This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects performed by any of the authors.
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