Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

New NASA Facility Will Help Protect Space Crews From Radiation

Date:
October 15, 2003
Source:
NASA/Marshall Space Flight Center
Summary:
NASA biologists and physicists will perform thousands of experiments at the new NASA Space Radiation Laboratory — one of the few places in the world that simulates the harsh space radiation environment. Marshall Center's Radiation Shielding Program will use the facility — commissioned on Oct. 14 at the Department of Energy's Brookhaven National Laboratory in Upton, N.Y. — to study the effectiveness of radiation shielding materials and to develop new materials to protect astronauts exposed to hazardous space radiation.

Imagine a human spacecraft crew voyaging through space. A satellite sends a warning; energetic particles are being accelerated from the sun's corona, sending dangerous radiation toward their spacecraft, but the crew isn't worried. Long before their journey, researchers on Earth conducted experiments to accurately measure the hazards of space radiation and developed new materials and countermeasures to protect them.

To ensure the safety of spacecraft crews, NASA biologists and physicists will perform thousands of experiments at the new $34 million NASA Space Radiation Laboratory (NSRL) commissioned today at the Department of Energy's (DOE) Brookhaven National Laboratory in Upton, N.Y. The laboratory, built in cooperation between NASA and DOE, is one of the few facilities that can simulate the harsh space radiation environment.

"Scientists will use this facility as a research tool to protect today's crews on the International Space Station and to enable the next generation of explorers to safely go beyond Earth's protected neighborhood," said Guy Fogleman, director of the Bioastronautics Research Division, Office of Biological and Physical Research (OBPR), at NASA Headquarters in Washington.

Space radiation produced by the sun and other galactic sources is more dangerous and hundreds of times more intense than radiation sources, such as medical X-rays or normal cosmic radiation, usually experienced on Earth. When the intensely ionizing particles found in space strike human tissue, it can result in cell damage and may eventually lead to cancer.

Approximately 80 investigators will conduct research annually at the new facility. "The NSRL will enable us to triple the ability of researchers to perform radiobiology experiments and the resulting science knowledge," said Frank Cucinotta, the program scientist for NASA's Space Radiation Health Project at Johnson Space Center, Houston. "Scientists at universities and medical centers across the nation will use the facility to investigate how space radiation damages cells and tissues such as the eyes, brain and internal organs," he said.

For each experiment, an accelerator produces beams of protons or heavy ions. These ions are typical of those accelerated in cosmic sources and by the sun. The beams of ions move through a 328-foot transport tunnel to the 400-square-foot, shielded target hall. There, they hit the target, which may be a biological sample or shielding material.

"Physicists will measure how specific particles interact with shielding material, " said James Adams, the program scientist for the Space Radiation Shielding Program at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala. "We can use this knowledge to improve our ability to predict the effectiveness of various materials and to develop and test new materials."

At NSRL, the radiation health team will perform extensive tests with biological samples placed in the path of the radiation. They will use the information to understand mechanisms of radiation damage to cells, predict risks, and develop countermeasures that mitigate radiation effects. " Advances in radiation detection, shielding and other radiation-mitigation techniques may be applied to workers in space and on Earth and may lead to improved use of radiation to treat disease on Earth and prevent radiation-induced illnesses," Fogleman said.

Since the 1970s, NASA has been using particle accelerators to understand and mitigate the risks of space radiation. The NSRL will take advantage of the high-energy particle accelerators at Brookhaven National Laboratory, a DOE facility established in 1947. Construction of the new facility began in 1998, and was funded in part by NASA's Office of Biological and Physical Research.

For more information about NASA on the Internet, visit:

http://www.nasa.gov

For information about Brookhaven National Laboratory, contact: Mona S. Rowe at: 631/344-5056, or for information on the Internet, visit:

http://www.bnl.gov


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by NASA/Marshall Space Flight Center. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

NASA/Marshall Space Flight Center. "New NASA Facility Will Help Protect Space Crews From Radiation." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 15 October 2003. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2003/10/031015032506.htm>.
NASA/Marshall Space Flight Center. (2003, October 15). New NASA Facility Will Help Protect Space Crews From Radiation. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2003/10/031015032506.htm
NASA/Marshall Space Flight Center. "New NASA Facility Will Help Protect Space Crews From Radiation." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2003/10/031015032506.htm (accessed October 22, 2014).

Share This



More Space & Time News

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Comet Siding Spring Grazes Mars' Atmosphere

Comet Siding Spring Grazes Mars' Atmosphere

Newsy (Oct. 19, 2014) — A comet from the farthest reaches of the solar system passed extremely close to Mars this weekend, giving astronomers a rare opportunity to study it. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Latin America Launches Communications Satellite

Latin America Launches Communications Satellite

AFP (Oct. 17, 2014) — Argentina launches a home-built satellite, a first for Latin America. It will ride a French-made Ariane 5 rocket into orbit, and will provide cell phone, digital TV, Internet and data services to the lower half of South America. Duration: 00:41 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
This Week @ NASA, October 17, 2014

This Week @ NASA, October 17, 2014

NASA (Oct. 17, 2014) — Power spacewalk, MAVEN’s “First Light”, Hubble finds extremely distant galaxy and more... Video provided by NASA
Powered by NewsLook.com
Saturn's 'Death Star' Moon Might Have A Hidden Ocean

Saturn's 'Death Star' Moon Might Have A Hidden Ocean

Newsy (Oct. 17, 2014) — The smallest of Saturn's main moons, Mimas, wobbles as it orbits. Research reveals it might be due to a global ocean underneath its icy surface. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins