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- Measurements using silicon detectors to characterize the radiation transmitted through the EMU space suit and a human phantom have been performed using 155 and 250 MeV proton beams at LLUMC. The beams simulate radiation encountered in space, where trapped protons having kinetic energies on the order of 100 MeV are copious. Protons with 100 MeV kinetic energy and above can penetrate many centimeters of water or other light materials, so that astronauts exposed to such energetic particles will receive doses to their internal organs. This dose can be enhanced or reduced by shielding - either from the space suit or the self-shielding of the body - but minimization of the risk depends on details of the incident particle flux (in particular the energy spectrum) and on the dose responses of the various critical organs. Data were taken to characterize the beams and to calibrate the detectors using the beam in a treatment room at LLUPTF, in preparation for an experiment with the same beams incident on detectors placed in a human phantom within the EMU suit. Nuclear interactions of high-energy protons in various materials produce a small flux of highly ionizing, low-energy secondary radiation. Secondaries are of interest for their biological effects, since they cause doses and especially dose-equivalents to increase relative to the values expected simply from ionization energy loss along the Bragg curve. Because many secondaries have very short ranges, they are best measured in passive track detectors such as CR-39. The silicon detector data presented here are intended to supplement the CR-39 data in regions where silicon has greater sensitivity, in particular the portion of the LET spectrum below 5 keV/micron. The results obtained in this study suggest that optimizing the radiation shielding properties of space suits is a formidable task. The naive assumption that adding mass can reduce risk is not supported by the data, which show that reducing the dose delivered at or near the skin by low-energy particles may increase the dose delivered by energetic particles to points deeper in the body.
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- NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS) Collection.
- Document ID: 20040065984.
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