Space radiation, often considered the primary hazard associated with space flight, is important to study. In space, crewmembers are subjected to greater amounts of natural radiation than they receive on Earth, exposing them to possible immediate and long-term risks. There are three major sources of radiation in space. The first, trapped belt radiation, occurs from particles found in the Earth's magnetic field. A second type, called galactic cosmic rays (GCRs), consists of particles that originate outside the solar system. The third type results from a solar particle event (SPE), which sometimes accompanies solar flares, and may be the most potent space radiation hazard to lightly shielded spacecraft. Regardless of the source, large amounts of radiation exposure can lead to radiation sickness and has the potential to damage the body's chromosomes.
Cytogenetic Effects of Space Radiation in Human Lymphocytes
Inflight Radiation Measurements
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Page last updated: 07/16/1999