The radiation impact to astronauts depends strongly on the particles’ linear energy transfer (LET) and is dominated by high LET radiation. It is important to investigate the LET spectrum for the radiation field in low Earth orbit (LEO) and the influence of radiation on astronauts. The best active dosimeter used for all LET is the tissue equivalent proportional counter (TEPC); the best passive dosimeter used for high LET is CR-39 plastic nuclear track dosimeters (PNTDs). TEPC and CR-39 PNTDs were used to investigate the radiation in LEO. LET spectra and radiation quantities were obtained for STS-112 and STS-114 missions with TEPC and CR-39 PNTDs. This paper introduces the operation principles for the two types of dosimeters, presents radiation results measured and compares the results obtained with different dosimeters.
Research Containing: Radiation
By using the critical Casimir force, we study the attractive strength dependent aggregation of colloids with and without gravity by means of near field scattering. Significant differences were seen between microgravity and ground experiments, both in the structure of the formed fractal aggregates as well as in the kinetics of growth. In microgravity purely diffusive aggregation is observed. By using the continuously variable particle interaction potential we can for the first time experimentally relate the strength of attraction between the particles and the structure of the aggregates.
Results of neutron dose measurements inside and outside International Space Station are presented. Measurements outside module «Zvezda» were conducted with Board Neutron Telescope (BTN) from 2007 to 2010. The telescope consists of three 3He counters and organic scintillator crystal (stylbene). BTN performs to work within the range of 0.1eV –10MeV. Measurements inside module «Zvezda» were conducted with so called Bubble Detectors in the same energy interval. Comparison of results is presented.
Several passive detectors were used to estimate dosimetry and microdosimetry characteristics of radiation field onboard spacecraft, namely: thermoluminescent detectors (TLDs), mainly to appreciate the contribution of radiation with low-linear energy transfer (LET); Si diode, to try to establish the contribution of fast neutrons; an LET spectrometer based on the chemically etched polyallyldiglycolcarbonate etched track detectors (PADC-TEDs). Detectors have been exposed onboard MIR and International Space Station (ISS) since 1997, they were also used during the MESSAGE 2 biological experiment, October 2003. The results are presented, analysed and discussed. Particular attention is devoted to the possibility of estimating neutron contribution based on data obtained with PADC-TED spectrometer of LET.
Operational radiation protection for astronauts and cosmonauts and correlated activities of ESA Medical Operations
Since the early times of human spaceflight radiation has been, besides the influence of microgravity on the human body, recognized as a main health concern to astronauts and cosmonauts. The radiation environment that the crew experiences during spaceflight differs significantly to that found on earth due to particles of greater potential for biological damage. Highly energetic charged particles, such as protons, helium nuclei (“alpha particles”) and heavier ions up to iron, originating from several sources, as well as protons and electrons trapped in the Earth's radiation belts, are the main contributors. The exposure that the crew receives during a spaceflight significantly exceeds exposures routinely received by terrestrial radiation workers. The European Space Agency's (ESA) Astronaut Center (EAC) in Cologne, Germany, is home of the European Astronaut Corps. Part of the EAC is the Crew Medical Support Office (CMSO or HSF-AM) responsible for ensuring the health and well-being of the European Astronauts. A sequence of activities is conducted to protect astronauts and cosmonauts health, including those aiming to mitigate adverse effects of space radiation. All health related activities are part of a multinational Medical Operations (MedOps) concept, which is executed by the different Space Agencies participating in the human spaceflight program of the International Space Station (ISS). This article will give an introduction to the current measures used for radiation monitoring and protection of astronauts and cosmonauts. The operational guidelines that shall ensure proper implementation and execution of those radiation protection measures will be addressed. Operational hardware for passive and active radiation monitoring and for personal dosimetry, as well as the operational procedures that are applied, are described.
Bubble-detector measurements in the Russian segment of the International Space Station during 2009–12
Measurements using bubble detectors have been performed in order to characterise the neutron dose and energy spectrum in the Russian segment of the International Space Station (ISS). Experiments using bubble dosemeters and a bubble-detector spectrometer, a set of six detectors with different energy thresholds that is used to determine the neutron spectrum, were performed during the ISS-22 (2009) to ISS-33 (2012) missions. The spectrometric measurements are in good agreement with earlier data, exhibiting expected features of the neutron energy spectrum in space. Experiments using a hydrogenous radiation shield show that the neutron dose can be reduced by shielding, with a reduction similar to that determined in earlier measurements using bubble detectors. The bubble-detector data are compared with measurements performed on the ISS using other instruments and are correlated with potential influencing factors such as the ISS altitude and the solar activity. Surprisingly, these influences do not seem to have a strong effect on the neutron dose or energy spectrum inside the ISS.
Analysis of Sileye-3/Alteino data with a neural network technique: Particle discrimination and energy reconstruction
In this work, we present the data analysis of the Sileye-3/Alteino experiment with neural network technique. Sileye-3/Alteino is composed of two devices: the cosmic ray-advanced silicon telescope (an 8 plane, 32 strip silicon detector) and an electroencephalograph. It was placed on board the ISS on April the 27th 2002 to investigate on the Light Flash phenomenon and the radiation environment in space. We show the possibility of using neural networks as an useful tool for real-time data analysis. A feed-forward neural network (Multi-Layer Perceptron – MLP) has been implemented and trained (with Monte Carlo data) to perform on line particle identification for ions with Atomic Number (Z) ⩽8 and incident kinetic energy reconstruction for ions Z > 2. The result of the analysis of Sileye-3/Alteino real data with the neural network and the improvements over classical analysis techniques are discussed.
Study of radiation conditions onboard the International space station by means of the Liulin-5 dosimeter
For estimating radiation risk in space flights it is necessary to determine radiation dose obtained by critical organs of a human body. For this purpose the experiments with human body models are carried out onboard spacecraft. These models represent phantoms equipped with passive and active radiation detectors which measure dose distributions at places of location of critical organs. The dosimetric Liulin-5 telescope is manufactured with using three silicon detectors for studying radiation conditions in the spherical tissue-equivalent phantom on the Russian segment of the International space station (ISS). The purpose of the experiment with Liulin-5 instrument is to study dynamics of the dose rate and particle flux in the phantom, as well as variations of radiation conditions on the ISS over long time intervals depending on a phase of the solar activity cycle, orbital parameters, and presence of solar energetic particles. The Liulin-5 dosimeter measures simultaneously the dose rate and fluxes of charged particles at three depths in the radial channel of the phantom, as well as the linear energy transfer. The paper presents the results of measurements of dose rate and particle fluxes caused by various radiation field components on the ISS during the period from June 2007 till December 2009.
Depth dose measurements with the Liulin-5 experiment inside the spherical phantom of the MATROSHKA-R project onboard the International Space Station
The Liulin-5 experiment is a part of the international project MATROSHKA-R on the Russian segment of the ISS, which uses a tissue-equivalent spherical phantom equipped with a set of radiation detectors. The objective of the MATROSHKA-R project is to provide depth dose distribution of the radiation field inside the sphere in order to get more information on the distribution of dose in a human body. Liulin-5 is a charged particle telescope using three silicon detectors. It measures time resolved energy deposition spectra, linear energy transfer (LET) spectra, particle flux, and absorbed doses of electrons, protons and heavy ions, simultaneously at three depths along the radius of the phantom. Measurements during the minimum of the solar activity in cycle 23 show that the average absorbed daily doses at 40 mm depth in the phantom are between 180 μGy/day and 220 μGy/day. The absorbed doses at 165 mm depth in the phantom decrease by a factor of 1.6–1.8 compared to the doses at 40 mm depth due to the self-shielding of the phantom from trapped protons. The average dose equivalent at 40 mm depth is 590 ± 32 μSV/day and the galactic cosmic rays (GCR) contribute at least 70% of the total dose equivalent at that depth. Shown is that due to the South Atlantic Anomaly (SAA) trapped protons asymmetry and the direction of Liulin-5 lowest shielding zone the dose rates on ascending and descending nodes in SAA are different. The data obtained are compared to data from other radiation detectors on ISS.
Experiments on the combustion of large n-heptane droplets, performed by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration in the International Space Station, revealed a second stage of continued quasi-steady burning, supported by low-temperature chemistry, that follows radiative extinction of the first stage of burning, which is supported by normal hot-flame chemistry. The second stage of combustion experienced diffusive extinction, after which a large vapour cloud was observed to form around the droplet. In the present work, a 770-step reduced chemical-kinetic mechanism and a new 62-step skeletal chemical-kinetic mechanism, developed as an extension of an earlier 56-step mechanism, are employed to calculate the droplet burning rates, flame structures, and extinction diameters for this cool-flame regime. The calculations are performed for quasi-steady burning with the mixture fraction as the independent variable, which is then related to the physical variables of droplet combustion. The predictions with the new mechanism, which agree well with measured autoignition times, reveal that, in decreasing order of abundance, H2O, CO, H2O2, CH2O, and C2H4 are the principal reaction products during the low-temperature stage and that, during this stage, there is substantial leakage of n-heptane and O2 through the flame, and very little production of CO2 with no soot in the mechanism. The fuel leakage has been suggested to be the source of the observed vapour cloud that forms after flame extinction. While the new skeletal chemical-kinetic mechanism facilitates understanding of the chemical kinetics and predicts ignition times well, its predicted droplet diameters at extinction are appreciably larger than observed experimentally, but predictions with the 770-step reduced chemical-kinetic mechanism are in reasonably good agreement with experiment. The computations show how the key ketohydroperoxide compounds control the diffusion-flame structure and its extinction.