Dosimetric Mapping (DOSMAP) - 10.21.14

Overview | Description | Applications | Operations | Results | Publications | Imagery
ISS Science for Everyone

Science Objectives for Everyone
Dosimetric Mapping (DOSMAP) allowed mapping of radiation levels throughout the internal environment of the International Space Station (ISS) and in the immediate vicinity of each crewmember. The resulting data helped determine the best radiation shielding locations on board the ISS, thereby providing the crew with the best possible protection during unusually high levels of radiation due to solar flares and other cosmic phenomena.

Science Results for Everyone

 “Mr. Sulu, shields up.” That Star Trek line could become reality on the ISS. The Dosimetric Mapping (DOSMAP) investigation mapped radiation levels inside the ISS and around crew members during normal and periods of unusually high levels of radiation such as solar maximum and traveling through the South Atlantic Anomaly region where radiation level is very high.  DOSMAP data helps scientists to map the type of radiation exposure and develope better shielding protection for longer space missions, which may also lead to new technologies to protect workers in potentially radioactive areas on Earth, such as nuclear power plants and submarines.

The following content was provided by Günter Reitz, Ph.D., and is maintained in a database by the ISS Program Science Office.

Experiment Details


Principal Investigator(s)

  • Günter Reitz, Ph.D., German Aerospace Center, Köln, Germany

  • Co-Investigator(s)/Collaborator(s)
  • Tzvetan P. Dachev, Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, Sofia, Bulgaria
  • Sandor Deme, KFKI Atomic Research Institute, Budapest, Hungary
  • Eric R. Benton, Eril Research Incorporated, Richmond, CA, United States
  • Pawel Olko, Institute for Nuclear Physics, Krakow, Poland
  • Rudolf Beaujean, Ph.D., University of Kiel, Kiel, Germany
  • Marlies Luszik-Bhadra, Physikalisch Technische Bundesanstalt, Braunschweig, Germany

  • Developer(s)
    Johnson Space Center, Human Research Program, Houston, TX, United States

    Sponsoring Space Agency
    National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)

    Sponsoring Organization
    Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate (HEOMD)

    Research Benefits
    Information Pending

    ISS Expedition Duration
    March 2001 - August 2001

    Expeditions Assigned

    Previous ISS Missions
    The DOSMAP investigation was performed on the following Space Shuttle flights: STS-9, STS-61, STS-42, STS-55, STS-65, STS-76, STS-79, STS-81, STS-84, STS-86; three Russian research satellites and EuroMir.

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    Experiment Description

    Research Overview

    • In order to better understand the internal environment of the International Space Station (ISS), Dosimetric Mapping (DOSMAP) mapped the radiation levels throughout the ISS and in the immediate vicinity of each crewmember.

    • Measurements were taken using a dosimetry package of four different types of dosimeters (radiation detectors) placed throughout the spacecraft at different shielding locations. The different types of detectors were designed to provide a complete radiation profile aboard the ISS, including different types of radiation that differently affect crew health.

    Interactions of ionizing radiations with the ISS structure and its contents creates a somewhat different radiation field at each location inside the ISS modules. This is in part due to a large contribution from secondary radiation created by particles colliding with the spacecraft materials. Dosimetric Mapping (DOSMAP) was designed to map the total absorbed dose in the US Laboratory module of the ISS. DOSMAP was deployed from March through August of 2001. This time frame included results from the solar particle event (SPE) that occurred on April 15, 2001.

    To fully characterize the doses observed on the ISS, four detector types were used: thermo-luminescence dosimeter (TLD) chips, CR39 nuclear track detectors with and without converters (NTDPs), a silicon dosimetry telescope (DOSTEL), and four mobile silicon detector units (MDUs). Crewmembers used the MDUs as personal dosimeters. They provided the ability to measure spectral composition with respect to nuclear charge, energy, and rate of energy deposition (linear energy transfer (LET)), as well as to estimate absorbed dose from galactic radiation, radiation belt particles, and the April solar particle event (SPE).

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    Space Applications
    DOSMAP will produce a clearer image of the radiation environment aboard the ISS, revealing what segments provide better radiation shielding and examining the radiation levels immediately surrounding crewmembers.

    DOSMAP research will help scientists more accurately predict radiation exposure in long-duration space flight, both in low Earth orbit and outside Earth's magnetic field. With this information, it will be possible to develop countermeasures that will protect crews in space on longer missions to Mars and the Moon, and it may also help lead to technologies to protect people working in potentially radioactive areas on Earth, such as nuclear power plants and nuclear submarines.

    Earth Applications
    This experiment is teaching scientists more about the use of devices for data collection and how to monitor real-time data. This could prove beneficial to radiation monitoring of commercial airline crews and military flight crews.

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    Operational Requirements
    DOSMAP required the use of the computer in the Human Research Facility - 1 (HRF-1), which was used to transmit DOSTEL information to Earth every 10 days. MDUs were recharged every 5-days. Crew members deactivated and stowed all dosimeters for return on STS-105.

    Operational Protocols
    Dosimeters placed around the ISS absorbed radiation during a three-month period. Crewmembers collected select dosimeters every 10 days and recorded the data. Crewmembers also charged their MDUs every 5 days. TLDs required maintenance every 10 days. Other dosimeters recorded information for the entire three-month mission for postflight analysis on Earth.

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    Results/More Information

    In general, radiation damage to the human body is indicated by the amount of energy deposited in living tissue, modified by the type of radiation causing the damage; this is measured in units of Sieverts (Sv). The background radiation dose received by an average person in the United States is approximately 3.5 milliSv/year. An exposure of 1 Sv/hour can result in radiation poisoning and a dose of 5 Sv/hour will result in death in 50% of exposed individuals. An average dose due to all detectors during Expedition 2 was found to be 532 microSv/day. This is significantly lower than measurements taken on previous space shuttle and Mir missions. All dosimeters showed agreement to within 10% of one another and over 95% of the projected measurements were able to be collected (Reitz 2001, 2005).

    Three important conclusions were drawn from this experiment that will help with future monitoring activities:

    • The corrections that were needed due to device data storage and readout were negligible to the LET readings and had only a small influence on dose rate estimates.

    • About 15% of the tissue damaging dose (effective dose) is from short-ranged neutrons and protons that were created within the spacecraft materials.

    • About 90% of the crewmember dose is due to particles that deposit less than 150 keV/micron. (Evans et al. 2009)

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    Results Publications

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    Ground Based Results Publications

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    ISS Patents

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    Related Publications

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    Related Websites
    International Space Station Medical Project (ISSMP)
    NASA Fact Sheet
    Radiation and Long-Term Space Flight

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    image NASA Image: ISS002E7814 - Expedition Two Flight Engineer Jim Voss works with a Pille TLD (one of the radiation-detecting components of DOSMAP) while in the Destiny laboratory module of the International Space Station.
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    image High-energy particles leave tracks (dark streak in center of the image) on CR39 plastic film contained within DOSMAP's Nuclear Track Detector Packages.
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    image NASA Image: ISS002E6593 - View of Mobile Dosimetry Unit 1, the Human Research Facility - 1 (HRF-1) DOSMAP Nuclear Track Detector Package 1 and TLD A0103 attached to a starboard rack in the Destiny laboratory module of the ISS.
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