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Radiation still a stumbling block to space travel

NASA lecture: Radiation still a stumbling block to space travel Daily Press, Tamara Dietrich Contact Reporter, Senior Reporter, 4 Feb 18   The dream of exploring deep space has sparked the imagination for generations, but it always runs up against one cold, hard reality: radiation.

Simply put, exposure to space radiation during a long mission or while exploring a place like Mars increases the likelihood of an astronaut dying from cancer.

Yes, astronauts are willing to take some risks, but within reason, said John Norbury, lead research physicist in the Space Radiation Group at NASA Langley Research Center in Hampton.

According to the American Cancer Society, the average American male stands a roughly 22 percent chance of dying from cancer in his lifetime; an American woman, just under 19 percent.

“It’s not a do-or-die situation,” Norbury said. “It’s, rather, how much does the risk of dying from cancer increase on a mission?”……….

Senior research physicist Sheila Thibeault said “Radiation in space is much, much, much more hazardous than on Earth, so this is a space problem. And it’s a very challenging problem to try to figure out how we’re going to get astronauts to Mars and back safely. And how to get astronauts to the moon and stay there for a while and get back.” ……..

Prolonged exposure doesn’t just increase one’s lifetime cancer risk, but can cause serious acute health effects.

Here on this planet, we’re largely protected from most solar and cosmic particles by the Earth’s atmosphere and magnetic field. That magnetic field also offers some protection to crews in low-Earth orbit aboard the International Space Station……..


February 5, 2018 - Posted by | radiation, technology, USA

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