Space Radiation and its Impact on Human Exploration of the Solar System
Guest Scientist, Molecular Biophysics and Integrated Bioimaging Division,
Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
Consultant, NASA Ames Research Center
Co-editor for Physical Sciences, Life Sciences in Space Research
Ionizing radiation is known to lead to health effects including cancer, cataracts and damage to the cardiovascular and central nervous systems, and radiation in space is considered to be one of the principal hazards to the crews that will venture out into the solar system in the coming decades. I will review the composition of the space radiation field, the physics of its interactions in spacecraft and tissue and its biological effects and how they can be simulated on Earth, and discuss potential physical, biological and operational countermeasures.
Ph.D. research in experimental high energy nuclear physics at the LBL Bevalac. Starting in 1988, led a team studying nuclear fragmentation and transport in materials and biological systems at accelerators including the Bevalac, BNL AGS, 88” cyclotron, the Heavy Ion Medical Accelerator at Chiba, Japan and the Loma Linda University Proton Therapy Facility. Following the closing of the Bevalac and its biomedical facility, co-led a multi-institution collaboration to establish a hadron radiation biology facility, the NASA Space Radiation Laboratory, at Brookhaven National Laboratory. Current research interests include nuclear fragmentation and transport, biophysical effects and dosimetry of high energy heavy charged particles, and development of an integrated approach--incorporating physics, biology, spacecraft design and mission architecture--to radiation health effects on humans on exploration missions beyond low Earth orbit.