Radiation Threats Of Astronauts On A Long Journey Through Space

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Samantha Stickles ESS102 Section AD Due: 10/23/15 Radiation Threats to Astronauts on a Long Journey through Space Astronauts travelling to Mars or another distant area of interest would face numerous challenges throughout their journey, one of which is being exposed to radiation from space. There are two types of radiation: ionizing radiation and non-ionizing radiation. [1] Non-ionizing radiation is radiation that cannot cause electrons to become detached from the atom, like visible light and radio waves. [1] This type of radiation is not dangerous for astronauts and is commonly found on Earth. Ionizing radiation, on the other hand, has enough energy to remove electrons from their orbits around an atom, causing a charged particle. [1]…show more content…
[1] This type of radiation would be dangerous for astronauts, and it would need to be shielded against for long distance space travel to be viable. SPE are the ejection of very energetic protons, alpha particles and heavier particles into space; these include solar flares and coronal mass ejections. [1] Under normal conditions, astronauts would not be concerned about this, but occasionally, very large SPEs occur that can produce radiation with energy levels high enough to be lethal in a very short period of time. In fact, between Apollo missions 16 and 17, one of the largest SPEs ever recorded occurred, and it produced radiation with energy levels that would be lethal to astronauts outside the atmosphere in under 10 hours. [1] The health risks of radiation exposure can be described as either acute or chronic. Acute exposure is short term and the severity of symptoms ranges from nausea to central nervous system damage and even to death in large doses. [2] Chronic exposure is usually less intense radiation but for a longer period of time, and the health risks include developing cataracts and an increased risk of cancer. [2] This is the most pressing issue for astronaut safety. Normally, when exposed to the low levels of radiation we encounter every day, cells are able to mend themselves very quickly. When we are exposed to high doses, such as astronauts would encounter in space, cells may not be able to repair themselves and can become mutated
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