The image quality of high-definition television (HDTV) cameras and camcorders for space activity is degraded by the presence of permanent bright pixels (so-called “white defects”) due to space radiation. We studied the space radiation damage to HDTV charge-coupled devices (CCDs; 2 × 106 pixels per chip) loaded in the Russian service module (SM) of the International Space Station (ISS) for 71 days, 256 days and 446 days. We used the “Passive Dosimeter for Lifescience Experiments in Space” (PADLES), which consists of CR-39 plastic nuclear track detectors (PNTDs) and thermoluminescent dosimeters, to measure space radiation doses received by the HDTV CCDs in the SM during loading periods. The average production rates of white defects for output voltage greater than 0.5 mV were 2.366 ± 0.055 pixels/day in Si and 5.213 ± 0.071 pixels/mGy in Si. We also investigated the correlation between the position of the white defects and tracks of high-energy particles with LET∞,Si of approximately 300 keV/μm or more using stacks of CR-39 PNTDs and the HDTV CCD chips. We found that approximately 30% of these high-energy high-LET particles coincided with the position of white defects on the HDTV CCDs in the SM.
Research Containing: Radiation effects
Radiation measurements of surface and deep organ doses were performed aboard the International Space Station, for the period of January 2006 to April 2007, using a MOSFET dosimetry system combined with the Matroshka-R spherical phantom. The averaged internal and surface dose rates are found to be 0.19 and 0.29 mGy d(-1), respectively. The levels of radiation dose to blood-forming organs (BFO) and to surface organs are compared with recommended safe limits. The maximum measured BFO dose has an average dose rate of 0.23 mGy d(-1) (84 mGy y(-1)), corresponding to 44 % of the recommended annual limit of 0.5 Sv, for a space radiation quality factor of 2.6. The annual surface dose is found to be higher at 126 mGy, corresponding to 16 % of the eye dose limit and to 11 % of the skin dose limit. Doses calculated using the Spenvis software showed deviations of up to 37 % from measurements.
The radiation environment in the ISS-USLab measured by ALTEA: Spectra and relative nuclear abundances in the polar, equatorial and SAA regions
We present here the energy spectra relative to different geomagnetic regions as measured by the ALTEA (Anomalous Long Term Effects on Astronauts) detector in the International Space Station – USLab from August 2006 to July 2007. ALTEA is an active detector composed by six silicon telescopes and it is able to follow the dynamics of the radiation flux, with the capability to discriminate impinging nuclei from Boron to Molybdenum. We divided each orbit in three regions (polar, equatorial and South Atlantic Anomaly), according to the values of the geomagnetic coordinates, and show the relative energy spectra. Finally we calculated the relative nuclear abundances compared to the ones of the total data. As expected all nuclear species are similarly modulated by the geomagnetic cutoff.
Astronaut's organ doses inferred from measurements in a human phantom outside the international space station
Space radiation hazards are recognized as a key concern for human space flight. For long-term interplanetary missions, they constitute a potentially limiting factor since current protection limits for low-Earth orbit missions may be approached or even exceeded. In such a situation, an accurate risk assessment requires knowledge of equivalent doses in critical radiosensitive organs rather than only skin doses or ambient doses from area monitoring. To achieve this, the MATROSHKA experiment uses a human phantom torso equipped with dedicated detector systems. We measured for the first time the doses from the diverse components of ionizing space radiation at the surface and at different locations inside the phantom positioned outside the International Space Station, thereby simulating an extravehicular activity of an astronaut. The relationships between the skin and organ absorbed doses obtained in such an exposure show a steep gradient between the doses in the uppermost layer of the skin and the deep organs with a ratio close to 20. This decrease due to the body self-shielding and a concomitant increase of the radiation quality factor by 1.7 highlight the complexities of an adequate dosimetry of space radiation. The depth-dose distributions established by MATROSHKA serve as benchmarks for space radiation models and radiation transport calculations that are needed for mission planning.
NASA Glenn Research Center (Glenn) has 39 individual materials flight experiments (>540 samples) flown as part of the Materials International Space Station Experiment (MISSE) to address long duration environmental durability of spacecraft materials in low Earth orbit (LEO). MISSE is a series of materials flight experiments consisting of trays, called Passive Experiment Carriers (PECs) that are exposed to the space environment on the exterior of the International Space Station (ISS). MISSE 1-5 have been successfully flown and retrieved and were exposed to the space environment from one to four years. MISSE 6A & 6B were deployed during the STS-123 shuttle mission in March 2008, and MISSE 7A & 7B are being prepared for launch in 2009. The Glenn MISSE experiments address atomic oxygen (AO) effects such as erosion and undercutting of polymers, AO scattering, stress effects on AO erosion, and in-situ AO fluence monitoring. Experiments also address solar radiation effects such as radiation induced polymer shrinkage, stress effects on radiation degradation of polymers, and radiation degradation of indium tin oxide (ITO) coatings and spacesuit fabrics. Additional experiments address combined AO and solar radiation effects on thermal control films, paints and cermet coatings. Experiments with Orion Crew Exploration Vehicle (CEV) seals and UltraFlex solar array materials are also being flown. Several experiments were designed to provide ground-facility to in-space calibration data thus enabling more accurate in-space performance predictions based on ground-laboratory testing. This paper provides an overview of Glenn s MISSE 1-7 flight experiments along with a summary of results from Glenn s MISSE 1 & 2 experiments.
Collagen and silk materials, in neat forms and as silica composites, were flown for 18 months on the International Space Station [Materials International Space Station Experiment (MISSE)-6] to assess the impact of space radiation on structure and function. As natural biomaterials, the impact of the space environment on films of these proteins was investigated to understand fundamental changes in structure and function related to the future utility in materials and medicine in space environments. About 15% of the film surfaces were etched by heavy ionizing particles such as atomic oxygen, the major component of the low-Earth orbit space environment. Unexpectedly, more than 80% of the silk and collagen materials were chemically crosslinked by space radiation. These findings are critical for designing next-generation biocompatible materials for contact with living systems in space environments, where the effects of heavy ionizing particles and other cosmic radiation need to be considered.
The International Space Station (ISS) is becoming a reality with the docking of the Russian Service module (Zarya) with the Unity module (Zaveda). ISS will be in a nominal 51.65-degree inclination by 400 km orbit. This paper reviews the currently planned radiation measurements, which are in many instances, based on experiments previously flown on the Space Shuttle. Results to be expected based on Shuttle measurements are presented.
Survival of plant seeds, their UV screens, and nptII DNA for 18 months outside the International Space Station
The plausibility that life was imported to Earth from elsewhere can be tested by subjecting life-forms to space travel. Ultraviolet light is the major liability in short-term exposures (Horneck et al., 2001 ), and plant seeds, tardigrades, and lichens-but not microorganisms and their spores-are candidates for long-term survival (Anikeeva et al., 1990 ; Sancho et al., 2007 ; Jonsson et al., 2008 ; de la Torre et al., 2010 ). In the present study, plant seeds germinated after 1.5 years of exposure to solar UV, solar and galactic cosmic radiation, temperature fluctuations, and space vacuum outside the International Space Station. Of the 2100 exposed wild-type Arabidopsis thaliana and Nicotiana tabacum (tobacco) seeds, 23% produced viable plants after return to Earth. Survival was lower in the Arabidopsis Wassilewskija ecotype and in mutants (tt4-8 and fah1-2) lacking UV screens. The highest survival occurred in tobacco (44%). Germination was delayed in seeds shielded from solar light, yet full survival was attained, which indicates that longer space travel would be possible for seeds embedded in an opaque matrix. We conclude that a naked, seed-like entity could have survived exposure to solar UV radiation during a hypothetical transfer from Mars to Earth. Chemical samples of seed flavonoid UV screens were degraded by UV, but their overall capacity to absorb UV was retained. Naked DNA encoding the nptII gene (kanamycin resistance) was also degraded by UV. A fragment, however, was detected by the polymerase chain reaction, and the gene survived in space when protected from UV. Even if seeds do not survive, components (e.g., their DNA) might survive transfer over cosmic distances.
The International Caenorhabditis elegans Experiment First Flight (ICE-First) was a project using C. elegans as a model organism to study the biological effects of short duration spaceflight (11 days in the International Space Station). As a member of the ICE-First research team, our group focused on the mutational effects of spaceflight. Several approaches were taken to measure mutational changes that occurred during the spaceflight including measurement of the integrity of poly-G/poly-C tracts, determination of the mutation frequency in the unc-22 gene, analysis of lethal mutations captured by the genetic balancer eT1(III;V), and identification of alterations in telomere length. By comparing the efficiency, sensitivity, and convenience of these methods, we deduced that the eT1 balancer system is well-suited for capturing, maintaining and recovering mutational events that occur over several generations during spaceflight. In the course of this experiment, we have extended the usefulness of the eT1 balancer system by identifying the physical breakpoints of the eT1 translocation and have developed a PCR assay to follow the eT1 chromosomes. C. elegans animals were grown in a defined liquid media during the spaceflight. This is the first analysis of genetic changes in C. elegans grown in the defined media. Although no significant difference in mutation rate was detected between spaceflight and control samples, which is not surprising given the short duration of the spaceflight, we demonstrate here the utility of worms as an integrating biological dosimeter for spaceflight.
Assessment of Nutrient Stability in Foods from the Space Food System After Long-Duration Spaceflight on the ISS
ABSTRACT: Maintaining an intact nutrient supply in the food system flown on spacecraft is a critical issue for mission success and crew health. Ground-based evidence indicates that some vitamins may be altered and fatty acids oxidized (and therefore rendered useless, or even dangerous) by long-term storage and by exposure to radiation, both of which will be issues for long-duration exploration missions in space. In this study, the stability of nutrients was investigated in food samples exposed to spaceflight on the Intl. Space Station (ISS). A total of 6 replicates of 5 different space food items, a multivitamin, and a vitamin D supplement were packaged into 4 identical kits and were launched in 2006 on the space shuttle. After 13, 353, 596, and 880 d of spaceflight aboard the ISS, the kits were returned to Earth. Nine replicates of each food item and vitamin, from the same lots as those sent into space, remained in an environmental chamber on Earth to serve as controls at each time point. Vitamins, hexanal, oxygen radical absorbance capacity, and amino acids were measured in identical-lot food samples at each time point. After 596 d of spaceflight, differences in intact vitamin concentrations due to duration of storage were observed for most foodstuffs, but generally, nutrients from flight samples did not degrade any faster than ground controls. This study provided the 1st set of spaceflight data for investigation of nutrient stability in the food system, and the results will help NASA design food systems for both ISS and space exploration missions.