Exposure to ionizing radiation during space travel has both acute and degenerative tissue effects. Acute effects of exposure to protons in solar particle events include hematopoietic injury, skin injury, and emesis. While these acute effects have been studied in various animals models following exposure to protons at doses of 0.5 Gy and above, [by for example the NSBRI Center of Acute Radiation Research (CARR)], acute effects of proton exposure at doses below 0.5 Gy have not yet been well characterized. Recent evidence suggests that the heart may be injured by ionizing radiation at lower doses than was previously thought. These findings raise concern about the largely unknown risks of degenerative effects in the cardiovascular system from radiation exposure during space travel.
The main goals of the Center for Space Radiation Research are to (1) characterize acute effects of low-dose solar particle event-like protons, (2) characterize the risk of late cardiovascular effects due to exposure to heavy fast moving (HZE) particles, and (3) develop a safe dietary countermeasure that may protect against the acute and late effects of exposure to space radiation.
CSRR Project Page