NASA creates cosmic rays for experiments with humans: simulations reveal the biological effect and risks

NASA creates cosmic rays for experiments with humans

NASA announces the creation of artificial cosmic rays that are as close to natural as possible. That is done to conduct complex experiments in which a person will participate. Under the influence of artificial cosmic rays, the human body will exhibit all biological effects and potential health risks. To mitigate them, an astronaut needs not only to protect him from the effects of cosmic radiation, but also be as prepared as possible for rehabilitation after the irradiation.

Ideally, such experiments should be carried out exclusively in space, but so far science does not have such an opportunity. The composition of galactic cosmic rays includes a set of high-energy helium ions, protons, ions having high charges and particles from lithium to iron.

That composition poses a real threat to human health and it is extremely difficult to defend against it. Ray ions are able to act with the materials that make up the spacecraft and with the tissues of the human body, and thereby create a complex mixed field of primary and secondary particles.

The biological effects of their effects are poorly understood. But recently, the scientists have developed a technology that can demonstrate the effects of cosmic rays for a short period of time, while monitoring the extremely small daily doses delivered by heavier ions.

The developed simulator helps to balance the definition of radiation conditions, equipment limitations and beam selection, necessary hardware and software updates, as well as restrictions on animal care and handling.

Research to identify health risks in outer space has been going on for 30 years. Most of them were carried out using the acute effects of monoenergetic single-ion beams. Now scientists have the opportunity to explore the mixed field of ions, which can be useful during long trips to the Mars.