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The Solar System Radiation Environment and NASA's Vision for Space Exploration: A Workshop

Project Scope

An ad hoc committee under the aegis of the Space Studies Board of the NRC sponsored a cross-disciplinary workshop on the radiation environments in the inner solar system and their effects on astronauts and operational systems in space. The workshop consisted of overview talks and panel discussions in the
following areas:

  • Characterization of the heliospheric radiation environment as understood to date, including required data sources
  • Physical mechanisms of energetic particle acceleration and transport in the heliosphere as understood to date
  • Radiation health hazards to astronauts
  • Radiation effects on materials and spacecraft systems
  • Mitigation techniques and strategies, including forecasting and operational schemes

The workshop brought together experts from a variety of disciplines to  identify open questions that will determine the direction of future research on  the above topics. Participants considered in particular the extent that  questions in the areas above can be answered by the focused application of  current understanding in the relevant physical, biological, and technological  fields, and the extent to which basic research will be required to provide the  requisite answers. The workshop concentrated not only on application of  current knowledge, but on the basic research into fundamental physical  processes that will be necessary for mitigation of the hazards posed by the  radiation environment in which manned expeditions to the Moon and Mars will  take place. Given the interdisciplinary nature of the workshop, care was taken to ensure that the highly specialized topics are presented on a level  that would be understandable and useful to the members of the various research communities represented at the workshop.

The workshop was funded by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

View the report: Space Radiation Hazards and the Vision for Space Exploration: Report of a Workshop (2006)