Astronauts face constant-spectrum radiation because particles and high-energy cosmic rays emerging from the sun constantly bombard their bodies.
If left unchecked, radiation can cause various health problems, including increasing the risk of cancer among astronauts. Therefore, when NASA plans a mission, the agency will use radiation exposure limits to determine how long astronauts can stay in space. But this restriction is different for all astronauts, and independent experts now support NASA’s efforts to change it.
Currently, NASA calculates this limit based on risk estimates. According to available data, the limit is to increase the chance of astronauts dying from cancer for the rest of their lives by 3% of the total exposure.
Related: Radiation is the main obstacle for future astronauts to Mars
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However, the cancer susceptibility that may be caused by radiation varies with age and reproductive organs, so it is limited Is it time in space? Nasa women cannot stay in orbit for as long as NASA men do, and young astronauts cannot stay as long as older astronauts. They have not been able to develop cancer for so many years. (Gender is not true duality, but this is the data available.)
NASA had previously considered changing the system to limit exposure of all astronauts to the risk limits applicable to the most vulnerable population: 35-year-old women. Now, a committee from the National Academy of Sciences, the Academy of Engineering, and the College of Medicine has released a report backing NASA’s proposal.
In a hard drive, a total of 600 millisieverts are needed in the institution run. In contrast, for a chest X-ray at your doctor’s office, you can get about 0.1 millisieverts and about 3 millisieverts of the earth’s natural background radiation each year. In 1986, workers near Chernobyl Ground were showered with 6,000 millisieverts.
At the same time, according to a new report, staying on the International Space Station for 6 months will expose astronauts to between 50 and 120 millisieverts; more distant destinations like Mars will bring more exposure.
In fact, according to the report, the proposed upper limit will expose women and young astronauts to relatively dangerous amounts of radiation and reduce the time spent by older men and astronauts in orbit.
NASA’s radiation standards were last updated in 2014. “Since then, our understanding of radiation biology has changed a lot,” said Dr. Carol Scott Conner, a professor of surgeon at the University of Iowa, who is a member of the NAS committee, said SpaceNet.
Many radiation exposure standards are based on historical studies of survivors of the atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945. Now, with recent data on workers in high-radiation industries such as medicine, nuclear energy, and nuclear energy, this situation is increasing. .
The proposed changes did not receive general support. “I think this change is problematic,” Francis Cucinotta, a radiation biologist at the University of Nevada in Las Vegas, told Space.com, who had worked with NASA. He said that a similar proposal was to play Russian roulette with female astronauts, exposing them to additional radiation risks.
But Scott Conner disagreed. “We agree with NASA’s conclusion that it is best to set it based on the criteria of the most vulnerable group, which is 35-year-old women,” he said. In addition, he said that NASA’s exposure limits are significantly lower than those of other space agencies.
However, Cucinotta believes that focusing solely on cancer risk will ignore other radiation-related problems, such as heart disease and cognitive problems. He believes NASA should analyze more data before making comprehensive changes. “I don’t understand why they are doing this now,” he said. “In these ten years, there will be enough time for a longer investigation of the lunar or Mars mission.
” The proposed change was made as NASA was preparing to send astronauts out of Earth orbit. The first lunar mission planned by Artemis (and vice versa) is unlikely to expose their crew to large amounts of radiation. But longer space flights, such as a few months of missions to Mars, will exceed NASA’s limits in any system.
In the absence of better radiation shielding, astronauts heading to Mars will have to pass the exemption process. The report emphasizes that NASA must establish a clear and transparent framework to achieve this goal.
At the same time, Scott Conner said, scientists still have a lot to learn about how people respond to the types of radiation in space. “There are many differences between the atomic bombing and the mission to Mars.”