Having effective biological protection in deep space missions is challenging for NASA and space engineers.
During deep space missions, astronauts are exposed to highly ionizing radiation, such as neutrons, protons and heavy ions from galactic cosmic rays (GCR), solar wind (SW) and solar energetic particles (SEP).
All these deep space elements increase the risks for cancerogenisis, damages in central nervous system (CNS), cardiovascular diseases. Large SEP events can even cause acute radiation syndrome (ARS).
Space engineers realize that long-term manned deep space missions will require unique radiation protection strategies. Since it has been shown that physical shielding alone is not sufficient, more thought needs to go into biological protection of humans in deep space missions.
One proposal has been to boost the immune systems of astronauts. The use of vitamin C, for example, is a promising non-toxic, cost effective and easily available radiation mitigator, which can even be useful house after irradiation.
The second group of dietary agents currently being considered for protection against ionizing radiation includes drugs that can facilitate faster recovery from radiation damage. These dietary agents offer protection by stimulating the growth of surviving stem and progenitor cells, or by lengthening the duration of the cell cycle segment that checks for and repairs damaged genes.
Although these types of drugs (radioprotectants) are now used to treat people exposed to radiation contamination on Earth, they may be good candidates for use on long duration space missions.
Want to lean more? Tonex offers Biological Protection in Deep Space Missions, a 2-day course where participants gain insights into the challenges and solutions associated with biological protection in the unique environment of deep space missions.
This critical training program by Tonex addresses the unique challenges of safeguarding living organisms during extended space exploration. Participants learn about the impact of deep space conditions, including radiation and microgravity, on biological systems.
Tonex offers several other courses in Space Engineering as well, such as:
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