Document Type : Review Article

Authors

1 PhD, Atominstitut, Technische Universität Wien, Stadionallee 2, 1020, Vienna, Austria

2 PhD, Department of Physics, Chalmers University of Technology, 412 96 Gothenburg, Sweden

3 PhD, Centre for Biomedical Physics, School of Healthcare and Medical Sciences, Sunway University, Jalan Universiti, Bandar Sunway, 47500 Selangor Darul Ehsan, Malaysia

4 PhD, Department of Medical Physics, Shiraz University of Medical Sciences, Shiraz, Iran

5 PhD, Fox Chase Cancer Center, 333 Cottman Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19111, United States

Abstract

During deep space missions, astronauts are exposed to highly ionizing radiation, incl. neutrons, protons and heavy ions from galactic cosmic rays (GCR), solar wind (SW) and solar energetic particles (SEP). This increase the risks for cancerogenisis, damages in central nervous system (CNS), cardiovascular diseases, etc. Large SEP events can even cause acute radiation syndrome (ARS). Long term manned deep space missions will therefor require unique radiation protection strategies. Since it has been shown that physical shielding alone is not sufficient, this paper propose pre-flight screening of the aspirants for evaluation of their level of adaptive responses. Methods for boosting their immune system, should also be further investigated, and the possibility of using radiation effect modulators are discussed. In this paper, especially, the use of vitamin C as a promising non-toxic, cost-effective, easily available radiation mitigator (which can be used hours after irradiation), is described. Although it has previously been shown that vitamin C can decrease radiation-induced chromosomal damage in rodents, it must be further investigated before any conclusions about its radiation mitigating properties in humans can be concluded.

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