Author(s): Benton ER, Benton EV
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Abstract Space radiation dosimetry presents one of the greatest challenges in the discipline of radiation protection. This is a result of both the highly complex nature of the radiation fields encountered in low-Earth orbit (LEO) and interplanetary space and of the constraints imposed by spaceflight on instrument design. This paper reviews the sources and composition of the space radiation environment in LEO as well as beyond the Earth's magnetosphere. A review of much of the dosimetric data that have been gathered over the last four decades of human space flight is presented. The different factors affecting the radiation exposures of astronauts and cosmonauts aboard the International Space Station (ISS) are emphasized. Measurements made aboard the Mir Orbital Station have highlighted the importance of both secondary particle production within the structure of spacecraft and the effect of shielding on both crew dose and dose equivalent. Roughly half the dose on ISS is expected to come from trapped protons and half from galactic cosmic rays (GCRs). The dearth of neutron measurements aboard LEO spacecraft and the difficulty inherent in making such measurements have led to large uncertainties in estimates of the neutron contribution to total dose equivalent. Except for a limited number of measurements made aboard the Apollo lunar missions, no crew dosimetry has been conducted beyond the Earth's magnetosphere. At the present time we are forced to rely on model-based estimates of crew dose and dose equivalent when planning for interplanetary missions, such as a mission to Mars. While space crews in LEO are unlikely to exceed the exposure limits recommended by such groups as the NCRP, dose equivalents of the same order as the recommended limits are likely over the course of a human mission to Mars. c2001 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.
This article was published in Nucl Instrum Methods Phys Res B
and referenced in Journal of Astrophysics & Aerospace Technology