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NASA Self-Assessment of Space Radiation ResearchSpace exploration involves unavoidable exposures to high-energy galactic cosmic rays whose penetration power and associated secondary radiation makes radiation shielding ineffective and cost prohibitive. NASA recognizing the possible health dangers from cosmic rays notified the U.S. Congress as early as 1959 of the need for a dedicated heavy ion accelerator to study the largely unknown biological effects of galactic cosmic rays on astronauts. Information and scientific tools to study radiation health effects expanded over the new decades as NASA exploration programs to the moon and preparations for Mars exploration were carried out. In the 1970 s through the early 1990 s a more than 3-fold increase over earlier estimates of fatal cancer risks from gamma-rays, and new knowledge of the biological dangers of high LET radiation were obtained. Other research has increased concern for degenerative risks to the central nervous system and other tissues at lower doses compared to earlier estimates. In 1996 a review by the National Academy of Sciences Space Science Board re-iterated the need for a dedicated ground-based accelerator facility capable of providing up to 2000 research hours per year to reduce uncertainties in risks projections and develop effective mitigation measures. In 1998 NASA appropriated funds for construction of a dedicated research facility and the NASA Space Radiation Laboratory (NSRL) opened for research in October of 2003. This year marks the 8th year of NSRL research were about 1000 research hours per year have been utilized. In anticipation of the approaching ten year milestone, funded investigators and selected others are invited to participate in a critical self-assessment of NSRL research progress towards NASA s goals in space radiation research. A Blue and Red Team Assessment format has been integrated into meeting posters and special plenary sessions to allow for a critical debate on the progress of the research and major gaps areas. Blue teams will highlight progress and important new knowledge gained. Red teams will challenge the Blue teams on proposed highlights and point to Gaps not considered. We will review the current space radiation Risks and Gaps under investigation at NASA, critical data sets and research highlights anticipated, and possible goals for future research at NSRL.
Document ID
Document Type
Conference Paper
Cucinotta, Francis A. (NASA Johnson Space Center Houston, TX, United States)
Date Acquired
August 24, 2013
Publication Date
January 1, 2010
Subject Category
Space Radiation
Report/Patent Number
Meeting Information
21st Annual NASA Space Radiation Investigators'' Meeting(Port Jefferson, NY)
Distribution Limits
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.