1996-07-01

Radiation Shielding Issues in Highly Inclined Low Earth Orbits 961581

The highly inclined orbit of the International Space Station Alpha exhibits significant radiation exposure contributions from the galactic cosmic rays penetrating the earth's magnetic field. In the absence of an accepted method for estimating the corresponding astronaut risk, we examined the attenuation characteristics using conventional LET dependent quality factors (as one means of representing RBE) and a track-structure repair model fit to cell transformation (and inactivation) data in the C3H10T1/2 mouse cell system obtained by T. C. Yang and coworkers for various ion beams. Although the usual aluminum spacecraft shield is effective in reducing dose equivalent with increasing shield thickness, cell transformation rates are increased for thin aluminum shields providing increased risk rather than protection to large shield thickness. This work clearly demonstrates that the exact nature of the biological response to LET and track width is critical to evaluation of biological protection factors provided by the shield design.

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