The scientists were able to explain the misconception that we have regarding space radiation, as it was commonly known that it is similar to that occurring on Earth. In fact, on our planet, the radiation coming from the Sun and space is absorbed and deflected by our atmosphere, along with the magnetic field.
Space radiation is also different from X-Rays, being yet another misconception arising on this topic. However, the X-Ray type of radiation is commonly found on Earth. In Space, the radiation phenomenon proved to have sufficient energy to violently collide with the nuclei that make up shielding and human tissue.
The team is focused on investigating the effects of space radiation on the human body, placing emphasis on those associated with the galactic cosmic rays. To this day, there is information regarding the effects of space radiation on the human body, as it was found that it can alter the cardiovascular system, leading to damage of the heart, potentially eliminating some of the cells located in the linings of the blood vessels. It can also hinder neurogenesis, which is described as being the process of generating new cells in the brain. In the circumstance where the neurons or the supporting cells are damaged or killed, there is less potential for the development of new cells. Moreover, at the level of the central nervous system, the radiation had a great potential of leading to cognitive impairment along with memory deficits.
In order to respond to this problem, the NASA Human Research Program is dedicated to discovering the best methods and technologies capable to support safe and productive human space travel. In this respect, the HRP enables space exploration by reducing the risks to astronaut health and performance using ground research facilities. All these combined efforts lead to the development and delivery of a program focused on human health, performance and habitability standards, in an attempt to come up with countermeasures and risk mitigation solutions and medical support technologies.