Encyclopedia of Bioastronautics

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

Acute Risks of Space Radiation

  • Xiao W. MaoEmail author
  • Michael J. Pecaut
  • Daila S. Gridley
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-10152-1_27-1


The space radiation environment consists of highly charged and energetic particles that include high-energy protons released from the sun during solar particle events (SPEs). SPEs that are above 25–30 mega-electron volts (MeV) can penetrate the shielding on the International Space Station (ISS) and present a major challenge for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). During long-term deep space missions, it is anticipated that multiple SPEs will be encountered. Such exposures are a significant radiation hazard to astronauts and spacecraft. Indeed, exposure to SPEs may place astronauts at risk for acute radiation sickness (ARS), prodromal effects, skin damage, hematological/immune deficits, and changes in other body compartments. The timing of symptom onset varies with radiation dose, dose rate, quality, and individual sensitivity.

Overview of ARS Following Acute Exposure Due to SPEs

During an SPE, the sun releases a large amount of energetic particles....

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Further Reading

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Xiao W. Mao
    • 1
    Email author
  • Michael J. Pecaut
    • 1
  • Daila S. Gridley
    • 1
  1. 1.Division of Biomedical Engineering Sciences (BMES), Department of Basic SciencesLoma Linda UniversityLoma LindaUSA

Section editors and affiliations

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