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Radiation Protection and Instrumentation (AP003)
Principal Investigator
Research Area:
Radiation biology
Species Studied
Scientific Name: Homo sapiens Species: Human

The solar and cosmic radiation found in space has long been recognized as a possible danger in space travel. Apollo missions, for the first time, placed men outside the Earth's geomagnetic shield, subjecting them to potentially hazardous particulate radiation of an intensity and frequency not encountered in Earth's environment. During a complete Apollo mission, astronauts were exposed to widely varying radiation sources, such as the Van Allen belts, solar surface eruptions, cosmic rays, neutrons, and subatomic particles created in high-energy collisions of primary particles with spacecraft materials. The primary objective was to limit exposure to these sources, and also to measure the dose from each source.

A secondary objective was to protect the astronauts and ground crews against sources of man made radiation, such as the radioisotope thermal generator used to conduct the lunar surface experiments, and some radioluminescent sources on the spacecraft.

The Apollo radiation protection program focused on avoiding the harmful radiation effects encountered in space by limiting the radiation dose to the lowest level judged consistent with achieving beneficial goals.

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Bailey JV. Radiation protection and instrumentation. Biomedical Results of Apollo. In: Johnson RS, Dietlein LF, Berry CA, eds. Washington, DC: NASA Headquarters; 1975:105-15. NASA-SP-368. [NTRS]

Benton EV, Henke RP and Bailey JV. Heavy cosmic ray exposure of Apollo astronauts. Science. 1975;187(4173):263-5.[]

Benton EV, Henke RP. Heavy Cosmic Ray Exposure of Apollo 16 Astronauts. Technical Report 20, University of San Francisco, 1972.

Benton EV, Henke RP. Heavy Cosmic Ray Exposure of Apollo 17 Astronauts. Technical Report 26, University of San Francisco, 1973.

Benton EV. Summary of current radiation dosimetry results on manned spacecraft. Advances in Space Research. 1984; 4(10):153-60. []

English RA, Benson RE, Bailey JV, and Barnes CM. Apollo experience report: Protection against radiation. Technical Report NASA-TN-D-7080. NASA Johnson Space Center; Houston, TX, United States March 01, 1973. [NTRS]

Cosmic radiation
Linear energy transfer (LET)
Radiation dosage
Radiation monitoring
Radiation protection
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Data Information
Data Availability
Archive is complete. Some data sets are online.
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Absorbed dose
Geometric mean fluence
Geometric mean flux
Total dose

Mission/Study Information
Mission Launch/Start Date Landing/End Date Duration
Apollo 10 05/18/1969 05/26/1969 8 days
Apollo 11 07/16/1969 07/24/1969 8 days
Apollo 12 11/14/1969 11/24/1969 10 days
Apollo 13 04/11/1970 04/17/1970 6 days
Apollo 14 01/31/1971 02/09/1971 9 days
Apollo 15 07/26/1971 08/07/1971 12 days
Apollo 16 04/16/1972 04/27/1972 11 days
Apollo 17 12/07/1972 12/19/1972 12 days
Apollo 7 10/11/1968 10/22/1968 11 days
Apollo 8 12/21/1968 12/27/1968 6 days
Apollo 9 03/03/1969 03/13/1969 10 days

Additional Information
Managing NASA Center
Johnson Space Center (JSC)
Responsible NASA Representative
Johnson Space Center LSDA Office
Project Manager: Jessica Keune
Institutional Support
National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)