Space Radiation is Risky Business for the Human Body

 

While people protect their eyes from the sun’s radiation during a solar eclipse, NASA’s Human Research Program (HRP) is working to protect the whole human body from radiation in space. Space radiation is dangerous and one of the primary health risks for astronauts.

“Determining astronaut health consequences following radiation exposure involve very complex processes,” said Tony Slaba, Ph.D., NASA research physicist. “It’s difficult to quantify exactly how radiation is interacting with tissues and cells – and more complicated to quantify and determine what long-term outcomes are going to be in terms of the potential diseases and biological system effects.”

Virtually any cell in the body is susceptible to radiation damage. The HRP is concerned with long-term health consequences of radiation exposure such as cancer, as well as adverse effects to the central nervous and cardiovascular systems.

“The primary means by which radiation effects cells is by damaging DNA – breaks in strands could be experienced,” said Peter Guida, Ph.D., liaison biologist for NASA Space Radiation Laboratory. “DNA bases (adenine, guanine, cytosine, and thymine) can also be knocked out. The cell will make an attempt to repair these damages. Sometimes it’s effective and sometimes it’s not, and sometimes it can be misrepaired. Genes that have been misrepaired can become mutations, and the accumulation of these mutations over time can potentially lead to cancer.”

Read more at nasa.gov

Image Credit:  NASA

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2018-03-22T14:32:29+00:00

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