Purpose To evaluate radiation induced chromosome aberration frequency in peripheral blood lymphocytes of cosmonauts who participated in flights on Mir Orbital Station and ISS (International Space Station). Materials and methods Cytogenetic examination which has been performed in the period 1992–2008 included the analysis of chromosome aberrations using conventional Giemsa staining method in 202 blood samples from 48 cosmonauts who participated in flights on Mir Orbital Station and ISS. Results Space flights led to an increase of chromosome aberration frequency. Frequency of dicentrics plus centric rings (Dic+Rc) depend on the space flight duration and accumulated dose value. After the change of space stations (from Mir Orbital Station to ISS) the radiation load of cosmonauts based on data of cytogenetic examination decreased. Extravehicular activity also adds to chromosome aberration frequency in cosmonauts’ blood lymphocytes. Average doses after the first flight, estimated by the frequency of Dic+Rc, were 227 and 113 mGy Eq for long-term flights (LTF) and 107 and 53 mGy Eq for short-term flights (STF). Conclusion Cytogenetic examination of cosmonauts can be applied to assess equivalent doses.
Research Containing: Radiation
Development of HZE particle transport codes is severely required for the shielding design of spacecrafts. One-dimensional deterministic codes are generally adopted in the shielding calculation because of their reasonable computational time, but three-dimensional Monte Carlo codes are also to be employed especially in the final step of the design with fully optimized geometries. We are therefore developing a general-purpose Monte Carlo code PHITS, which can deal with the transports of all kinds of hadrons and heavy ions with energies up to 200 GeV / n . For the purpose of examining the applicability of PHITS to the shielding design, neutron and charged particle spectra inside the Space Shuttle were calculated for an imaginary vessel whose shielding distribution is fitted to that of the real shuttle. Absorbed doses and dose equivalents were estimated from the spectra by applying fluence to dose conversion coefficients. The agreements between the calculated spectra or doses and the corresponding experimental data were generally satisfactory, especially for the neutron spectra, which have been barely reproduced by other studies. We therefore concluded that PHITS has a great possibility of playing an important role in the design study of spacecrafts.
This article presents the results of a systematic literature review to locate peer-reviewed journal articles that offer equivalent or absorbed radiation dose measurements for locations in outer space. The review utilized three separate keyword searches, one using MEDLINE and 2 using Google Scholar. The queries returned a total of 3,779 potential source documents, 819 of which were screened for inclusion. The final article set contained 43 articles. The articles were all in English though they were contributed by authors from 10 different nations. The United States was the most frequent contributor followed by Germany. The articles provided data from every manned US space program except Project Mercury, as well as from 3 Soviet space stations. The article pool displayed recency in publication, with a majority of the articles published in 1990 or later. It is speculated that this is due to a preference for reporting results in technical reports and conference abstracts in the 1960s and 1970s. The shift from research conducted by contractors to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) to partnerships with civilian scientists at universities may be responsible for the increased frequency of publication in peer-reviewed journals. The collection of articles provides more than 550 dose measurements for spacecraft and extra-vehicular activity in 42 combinations of inclination and altitude in low Earth orbit. The articles also provide 57 measurements for lunar missions. The most often sampled locations were those that had space stations, followed by measurements taken aboard the Gemini capsules and the Space Shuttle fleet. This review demonstrates that dosimetric data exist in sufficient abundance that they might be further synthesized into useful dose estimation models and tools. Such tools could be of great utility in mission planning and epidemiological studies of the effects of space radiation on human health.
Experimental design and environmental parameters affect Rhodospirillum rubrum S1H response to space flight
In view of long-haul space exploration missions, the European Space Agency initiated the Micro-Ecological Life Support System Alternative (MELiSSA) project targeting the total recycling of organic waste produced by the astronauts into oxygen, water and food using a loop of bacterial and higher plant bioreactors. In that purpose, the alpha-proteobacterium, Rhodospirillum rubrum S1H, was sent twice to the International Space Station and was analyzed post-flight using a newly developed R. rubrum whole genome oligonucleotide microarray and high throughput gel-free proteomics with Isotope-Coded Protein Label technology. Moreover, in an effort to identify a specific response of R. rubrum S1H to space flight, simulation of microgravity and space-ionizing radiation were performed on Earth under identical culture set-up and growth conditions as encountered during the actual space journeys. Transcriptomic and proteomic data were integrated and permitted to put forward the importance of medium composition and culture set-up on the response of the bacterium to space flight-related environmental conditions. In addition, we showed for the first time that a low dose of ionizing radiation (2 mGy) can induce a significant response at the transcriptomic level, although no change in cell viability and only a few significant differentially expressed proteins were observed. From the MELiSSA perspective, we could argue the effect of microgravity to be minimized, whereas R. rubrum S1H could be more sensitive to ionizing radiation during long-term space exploration mission.
Estimate of the space station shielding thickness at a USLab site using ALTEA measurements and fragmentation cross sections
In this work we presented a method to estimate a local shielding thickness of the International Space Station (USLab), expressed as equivalent of aluminum. The calculation took advantage of total and partial charge-changing cross sections, both measured experimentally and computed theoretically, to obtain the total survival fractions of ions with charge 5≤Z≤2 when transversing the space craft hull. The combination of these values with the measured relative abundances outside the space station provided the estimates of the internal relative abundances at several thicknesses. The results have been compared with data measured by ALTEA experiment in the USLab to find the thickness that minimizes the discrepancy between the calculated data and the measurements: the result yielded to an estimate of the shielding thickness at ALTEA site of about 5 cm of aluminum equivalent.
Solar Particle Events (SPEs) are a major concern during prolonged space missions. During such events, a large amount of light ions, mostly protons and helium nuclei, are accelerated with enough energy to traverse the spacecraft hull and therefore represent a high hazard for the crews' health. The ALTEA particle telescope was collecting continuous data inside the USLab module of the International Space Station (ISS) during most of the December 2006 SPEs. The telescope is able to measure protons and helium respectively in the 42–45 MeV and 42–250 MeV/nucleon energy ranges, heavier ions up to relativistic molybdenum, and to discriminate nuclei for Z ≥ 5. First measurements of the charged radiation environment inside the USLab during a SPE are presented. The data averaged over the entire SPE week show an increase of the light ion rate (about a factor 1.5 in the energy range of the detector) when compared to quiet Sun conditions. The increase becomes much higher during the SPE climax (13 December) reaching a factor 10 (when averaged over three ISS orbits showing the highest activity). The extension of these results beyond the detector range is discussed. Conversely, the rates of ions with Z ≥ 5 are shown not to change significantly during the SPE week.
Evaluation of the neutron radiation environment inside the International Space Station based on the Bonner Ball Neutron Detector experiment
The Bonner Ball Neutron Detector (BBND) experiment was conducted onboard the US Laboratory Module of the International Space Station (ISS) as part of the Human Research Facility project of NASA in order to evaluate the neutron radiation environment in the energy range from thermal up to 15 MeV inside the ISS. The BBND experiment was carried out over an eight-month period from 23 March through 14 November 2001, corresponding to the maximum period of solar-activity variation. The neutron differential-energy spectra are compared with the model neutron spectrum predicted for the inside of the ISS, and are found to be in good agreement for E > 10 keV . In contrast, the ISS model spectrum has lower flux for E < 10 keV , which is likely due to the difference in the shielding environment. The neutron dose equivalent rates are 69 and 88 μ Sv / day for the two locations inside the US Laboratory Module, representing a 30% increase due to the difference in the localized shielding environment inside the same pressurized module. The influence of the ISS altitude variation is estimated for the neutron dose equivalent rate to increase by a factor of 2 over the ISS altitude variation of 300–500 km. The increase in the cumulative neutron dose equivalent due to the most significant solar event during the BBND experiment is 0.15 mSv, which contributes less than 1% to the annual neutron dose equivalent estimated from the BBND experiment.
Space radiation does not induce a significant increase of intrachromosomal exchanges in astronauts' lymphocytes
Chromosome aberration analysis in astronauts has been used to provide direct, biologically motivated estimates of equivalent doses and risk associated to cosmic radiation exposure during space flight. However, the past studies concentrated on measurements of dicentrics and translocations, while chromosome intrachanges (inversions) have never been measured in astronauts' samples. Recent data reported in the literature suggest that densely ionizing radiation can induce a large fraction of intrachanges, thus leading to the suspicion that interchanges grossly underestimate the cosmic radiation-induced cytogenetic damage in astronauts. We have analyzed peripheral blood lymphocytes from 11 astronauts involved in short- or long-term space flights in low-Earth orbit using high-resolution multicolor banding to assess the frequency of intrachromosomal exchanges in both pre- and post-flight samples. We did not detect any inversions in chromosome 5 from a total of 2800 cells in astronauts' blood. In addition, no complex type exchanges were found in a total of 3590 astronauts' lymphocytes analyzed by multifluor fluorescence in situ hybridisation. We conclude that, within the statistical power of this study, the analysis of interchanges for biological dosimetry in astronauts does not significantly underestimate the space radiation-induced cytogenetic damage, and complex-type exchanges or intrachanges have limited practical use for biodosimetry at very low doses.
Large uncertainties are associated with estimates of equivalent dose and cancer risk for crews of long-term space missions. Biological dosimetry in astronauts is emerging as a useful technique to compare predictions based on quality factors and risk coefficients with actual measurements of biological damage in-flight. In the present study, chromosomal aberrations were analyzed in one Italian and eight Russian cosmonauts following missions of different duration on the MIR and the international space station (ISS). We used the technique of fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) to visualize translocations in chromosomes 1 and 2. In some cases, an increase in chromosome damage was observed after flight, but no correlation could be found between chromosome damage and flight history, in terms of number of flights at the time of sampling, duration in space and extra-vehicular activity. Blood samples from one of the cosmonauts were exposed in vitro to 6 MeV X-rays both before and after the flight. An enhancement in radiosensitivity induced by the spaceflight was observed.
Preliminary results of the radiobiological experiments carried out on the biosatellite Cosmos 690 with a radiation exposure unit on board are presented. The duration of the satellite flight was 20.5 days. On the tenth day of the flight 35 rats were exposed on board the satellite to 220 or 800 rads of gamma radiation. Comparison of data obtained in test and control groups of animals has shown that under the influence of space flight factors a somewhat more severe radiation injury develops than in on-ground conditions.