NASA has created a terrestrial cosmic-ray system. The installation, developed by the space agency, will allow in laboratory conditions to simulate their effects on the human body during long space travel. The development is described in the journal PLOS Biology.
Galactic Cosmic Rays (GCR) is a mixture of high-energy protons, helium ions, and ions with a higher charge and energy in the range from lithium to iron, and it is extremely difficult to defend against them. These ions interact with the materials of the spacecraft and human tissues – but how exactly is not yet known exactly.
In a new work, researchers from NASA created an installation based on the technology of fast beam switching and control, NSRL. It is able to quickly and repeatedly switch between several combinations of ion-energy rays for a short period of time, and also precisely control extremely small daily doses of heavy ions.
Now the authors of the development are testing the effect of GCR on animals – in the near future they plan to start researching the effects of cosmic rays on electronic devices that are used to create the lining of spacecraft, and then proceed to test on people.
NASA noted that the installation will allow you to find materials that better protect astronauts from cosmic rays, as well as to study the effect of the mixed field and dose rate on the risks of radiogenic cancer, cardiovascular diseases, and adverse effects on the central nervous system.