Neutrons in Space: Shield Models and Design Issues
The normal working and living areas of the astronaut are designed to provide an acceptable level of protection against the hazards of ionizing space radiation. Attempts to reduce the exposures require intervening shield materials to reduce the transmitted radiation. An unwelcome side effect of the shielding is the production of neutrons, which are themselves dangerous particles that can be (but are not always) more hazardous than the particles that produced them. This is especially true depending on the choice of shield materials. Although neutrons are not a normal part of the space environment, they can be a principle component of astronaut exposure in the massive spacecraft's required for human space travel and habitation near planetary surfaces or other large bodies of material in space.