The Impact of Radiation Protection on the Design of Space Habitats

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M. Hempsell; R. Moses (2008), JBIS, 61, 146-153

Refcode: 2008.61.146
Keywords: Radiation protection, radiation design guidelines, space habitats

While astronauts' exposure to radiation is well within the special limits set for them and therefore does not, by our current understanding, pose a serious health risk, the levels are an order of magnitude higher than would be permissible on Earth and are beyond levels for which there is substantial medical data. Therefore this is an area of concern and this concern will grow when astronauts undertake long duration flights above the Earth's magnetosphere. The current guidelines and advice provided to designers of space habitats on how to protect crew from the radiation environment are inadequate, confused and misleading. As a result the current habitat modules subject crews to a higher equivalent dose than if they were exposed to open space. It is argued that simple effective design guidelines can be derived from our current understanding of the space radiation environment. It is shown by generic outline and a specific example design that if these guidelines are allowed to drive the habitat architecture that the equivalent doses can be significantly reduced from open space levels.

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