Radiation exposure represents one of the greatest risks to humans traveling on exploration missions beyond low Earth orbit (LEO). Anomalous Long Term Effects in Astronauts' - Dosimetry (ALTEA-Dosi) will measure the particle flux in the U.S. Laboratory Destiny on the International Space Station (ISS), being able to discriminate particle type and measure particle trajectory and deposited energy. Comparison between data collected by ALTEA-Dosi, Intravehicular Charged Particle Directional Spectrometer (IVCPDS), and Extravehicular Charged Particle Directional Spectrometer (EVCPDS) will aid space agencies in understanding the radiation spectrum and radiation shielding characteristics of the Destiny.
Anomalous Long Term Effects in Astronauts' - Dosimetry will utilize the ALTEA hardware: a helmet-shaped device holding 6 silicon particle detectors designed to measure cosmic radiation passing through the detectors. The six identical silicon detector units (SDU) contain three sets of x-y plane silicon strip detectors. Each plane detector is 300 micrometers thick and divided into 64 strips. An event is recorded if at least all 3 x-plane detectors have signals above threshold, and these signals are the sum of the energy deposited in four adjacent strips. The geometry factor of each SDU is 250 cm-sr and is capable of measuring particle trajectory with an angular accuracy of 1.8 degrees and can resolve individual ionizing particles of charge 4 to 28 for energies above 25 MeV/n. In previous research, an electroencephalograph (EEG) measured the brain activity of the crewmember to determine if radiation strikes caused changes in the electrophysiology of the brain in real time. A Visual Stimulator performed tests of the crewmembers' overall visual system.
ALTEA-Dosi will continuously measure the cosmic radiation, without crewmember aid or wearing of the helmet, in the International Space Station (ISS) U.S. Laboratory, Destiny. The ALTEA-Dosi data will also be compared with data collected by Intravehicular Charged Particle Directional Spectrometer (IVCPDS), and Extravhicular Charged Particle Directional Spectrometer (EVCPDS) instruments. The IVCPDS and EVCPDS instruments measure the energy and species of individual ionizing particles of charge 1 to 10, where ALTEA-Dosi measures charge of 4 to 28; therefore, these data sets complement one another allowing for the measurement of the abundances of all ions that contribute significantly to crew radiation exposure.
In addition to measuring the radiation exposure on a crewmember’s head, the Anomalous Long Term Effects in Astronauts' Central Nervous System (ALTEA) hardware can also provide an assessment of the radiation environment in the ISS. Since June 1st 2009, a new analysis technique has been employed by researchers to make use of the 3-dimensional capability of the ALTEA space radiation detector to measure both the direction of radiation particle flow and its linear energy transfer (LET) rate inside the Space Station.
The radiation field in low-Earth orbit (LEO) is a combination of galactic cosmic rays (GCR), trapped ions (in the South Atlantic Anomaly, SAA) and radiation due to solar events. It penetrates the International Space Station (ISS) through the vessel hull as well as through the uneven shielding due to the many racks, experimental devices, etc. on the walls. Results from this study further confirm that the radiation environment inside the Space Station is directional and the energy of ionizing particles is affected by the amount of shielding these particles encountered on their path. High-LET particles show a minimum along the longitudinal axis (most shielded) and a maximum perpendicular to the cylindrical hull of the ISS. However, the sum of the energy from light ions and the fragments produced by heavier ions appears to be independent of direction, and the average radiation dose rate measured by ALTEA is similar to those previously measured by the Tissue Equivalent Proportional Counter (TEPC) and the Columbia Resin #39 (CR-39) detectors. Researchers are planning to move the ALTEA unit to another ISS site for more survey.
Detailed measurement of the angular components and total energy of space radiation is relevant in helping scientists to design radiation experiments and interpret results by providing information about the different quality of radiation impinging on the same spot from different directions. Recent calculations show that space radiation may exceed recommended risk levels for long voyages outside the protection of the Earth’s magnetic shield and atmosphere, and the major goal of space radiation research is to enable the human exploration of space within acceptable radiation risks. This requires a detailed characterization of the space environment in which the astronauts are living and are expected to live (Di Fino et al., 2011).
|Mission||Launch/Start Date||Landing/End Date||Duration|
|Expedition 17||04/08/2008||10/23/2008||198 days|
|Expedition 18||10/12/2008||04/17/2009||187 days|
|Expedition 19||03/26/2009||10/11/2009||199 days|
|Expedition 20||05/27/2009||10/11/2009||137 days|
|Expedition 21||10/11/2009||12/01/2009||51 days|
|Expedition 22||11/30/2009||03/18/2010||109 days|
|Expedition 23||03/18/2010||06/01/2010||75 days|
|Expedition 24||06/01/2010||09/25/2010||117 days|
|Expedition 25||09/24/2010||11/25/2010||31 days|
|Expedition 26||11/26/2010||03/16/2011||111 days|
|Expedition 27||03/14/2011||05/23/2011||70 days|
|Expedition 28||05/23/2011||09/15/2011||115 days|
|Expedition 29||09/16/2011||11/21/2011||40 days|
|Expedition 30||11/14/2011||04/27/2012||166 days|
|Expedition 31||04/27/2012||07/01/2012||65 days|
|Expedition 32||07/01/2012||09/16/2012||78 days|