Author(s): Hu S, Kim MH, McClellan GE, Cucinotta FA
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Abstract Radiation exposure from Solar Particle Events (SPE) presents a significant health concern for astronauts for exploration missions outside the protection of the Earth's magnetic field, which could impair their performance and result in the possibility of failure of the mission. Assessing the potential for early radiation effects under such adverse conditions is of prime importance. Here we apply a biologically based mathematical model that describes the dose- and time-dependent early human responses that constitute the prodromal syndromes to consider acute risks from SPEs. We examine the possible early effects on crews from exposure to some historically large solar events on lunar and/or Mars missions. The doses and dose rates of specific organs were calculated using the Baryon radiation transport (BRYNTRN) code and a computerized anatomical man model, while the hazard of the early radiation effects and performance reduction were calculated using the Radiation-Induced Performance Decrement (RIPD) code. Based on model assumptions we show that exposure to these historical events would cause moderate early health effects to crew members inside a typical spacecraft or during extra-vehicular activities, if effective shielding and medical countermeasure tactics were not provided. We also calculate possible even worse cases (double intensity, multiple occurrences in a short period of time, etc.) to estimate the severity, onset and duration of various types of early illness. Uncertainties in the calculation due to limited data on relative biological effectiveness and dose-rate modifying factors for protons and secondary radiation, and the identification of sensitive sites in critical organs are discussed.
This article was published in Health Phys
and referenced in Journal of Pediatric Neurology and Medicine