Outer space is known to beharsh environment. There is no air, almost no gravity (microgravity does not count). In addition, it is very cold in space, and there is also an invisible danger in the form of solar radiation. As is known, radiation exposure can cause the development of a number of serious diseases, including cancer. It is believed that solar radiation in this regard poses a great danger to astronauts and is a big problem for long-distance space travel. But all is not so clear.
What is the danger of cosmic radiation
Space travel subject bodyexposed to higher doses of ionizing radiation than those commonly found on Earth, since the atmosphere of our planet detains most of these dangerous particles. In space, as you understand, there is no such protection and it is believed that at high doses, cosmic radiation can cause diseases of the heart, broncho-pulmonary system and lead to the already mentioned problems with immunity and an increased risk of developing oncology.
This is interesting: A flight to Mars will shorten the life of astronauts by 2.5 years.
Previous studies have found some connectionbetween space travel and increased risk of death from cancer or cardiovascular disease. But since relatively few people traveled to space at that time, these studies may not have been very revealing in order to correctly interpret this connection.
A recent study relies on informationfrom 418 space travelers, including 301 NASA astronauts who have traveled to space at least once since 1959, and 117 Russian and Soviet cosmonauts who have visited space at least once since 1961. All these participants were followed on average for about 25 years.
During this time, unfortunately, 89 participantsexperiment died. Among 53 dead NASA astronauts, 30% died from cancer and 15% from heart disease, while among 36 of our compatriots, 50% died from heart disease and 28% from cancer. The researchers used a special statistical method to determine if deaths from cancer and heart disease have a common cause. In this case, it is cosmic radiation. But their results did not indicate that it was cosmic radiation that was to blame.
So is cosmic radiation harmful?
New research results bring usgood news: cosmic radiation does not seem to increase the risk of astronaut death from cancer or heart disease, at least not in the doses they received during their missions.
"If ionizing radiation also causesthe increased risk of death due to cancer and cardiovascular diseases, this effect is not significant, ”the authors write in their study published in the journal Scientific Reports.
However, longer missions (such as the mission to Mars) will obviously expose astronauts to much greater radiation exposure, which may already pose a risk to human health.
“It is important to note that future missionsDeep space exploration is likely to carry a much greater risk due to increased cosmic radiation doses. Our future research is aimed at exploring the potential harm of cosmic radiation to humans in longer space missions. ”
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