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Space Radiation and Risks to Human HealthThe radiation environment in space poses significant challenges to human health and is a major concern for long duration manned space missions. Outside the Earth's protective magnetosphere, astronauts are exposed to higher levels of galactic cosmic rays, whose physical characteristics are distinct from terrestrial sources of radiation such as x‐rays and gamma‐rays. Galactic cosmic rays consist of high energy and high mass nuclei as well as high energy protons; they impart unique biological damage as they traverse through tissue with impacts on human health that are largely unknown. The major health issues of concern are the risks of radiation carcinogenesis, acute and late decrements to the central nervous system, degenerative tissue effects such as cardiovascular disease, as well as possible acute radiation syndromes due to an unshielded exposure to a large solar particle event. The NASA Human Research Program's Space Radiation Program Element is focused on characterization and mitigation of these space radiation health risks along with understanding these risks in context of the other biological stressors found in the space environment. In this overview, we will provide a description of these health risks and the Element's research strategies to understand and mitigate these risks.
Document ID
Acquisition Source
Johnson Space Center
Document Type
Huff, Janice L.
(NASA Johnson Space Center Houston, TX, United States)
Date Acquired
May 16, 2014
Publication Date
May 14, 2014
Subject Category
Space Radiation
Aerospace Medicine
Report/Patent Number
Meeting Information
Meeting: Aerospace Medical Association 2014 Conference
Location: San Diego, CA
Country: United States
Start Date: May 11, 2014
End Date: May 15, 2014
Sponsors: Aerospace Medical Association
Distribution Limits
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.
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