Encyclopedia of Bioastronautics

Living Edition
| Editors: Laurence R. Young, Jeffrey P. Sutton

Space-Radiation Induced Carcinogenesis

  • Michael M. WeilEmail author
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-10152-1_26-1


The risk of radiation-induced cancer poses a serious obstacle to long duration spaceflight and planetary exploration. In space, astronauts are exposed to types of radiation not experienced on Earth. The exposures are at low dose rate, but on planned protracted missions or multiple short duration missions, the cumulative doses are large enough to pose an unacceptably high risk of radiation-induced fatal cancer. Currently, astronauts on multiple International Space Station (ISS) missions approach acceptable radiation dose limits. Projected missions such as an asteroid redirect mission or a Mars mission will exceed permissible exposure limits. Research is ongoing to accurately quantify cancer risks from space radiation and to reduce them.

Low LET Radiation and Cancer Risk

Radiation exposure increases cancer risk. The extent of the risk depends on a number of factors including the type of radiation, the total dose received, the length of time over which the exposure occurs, and...

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Environmental & Radiological Health SciencesColorado State UniversityFort CollinsUSA

Section editors and affiliations

  • Kathryn D. Held
    • 1
  1. 1.Radiation OncologyMassachusetts General Hospital/Harvard Medical SchoolBostonUSA