Anomalous Long Term Effects in Astronauts' Central Nervous System - Shield (ALTEA-Shield) - 07.15.14
ISS Science for Everyone
Science Objectives for Everyone The Anomalous Long Term Effects in Astronauts' Central Nervous System - Shield (ALTEA-Shield) investigation provides an assessment of the radiation environment inside the International Space Station (ISS). The goal is to better understand the interaction between cosmic rays and brain functions. Since radiation exposure in space is one of the greatest risks to human health, a better understanding and characterization of the shielding capability of different materials is needed in order to enable future, long term human exploration.
Science Results for Everyone
This experiment measured radiation on the space station to improve our methods for shielding against cosmic rays in space. Radiation levels were monitored at four locations and an extensive amount of data collected to check radiation and atmospheric models and identify different radiation spectra. Data were also collected on two thicknesses of Polyethylene and Kevlar shielding materials. A better understanding and characterization of shielding materials is needed to protect future astronauts from the risks of radiation exposure in space. Researchers developed a new algorithm to perform nuclear identification with low statistics and, with some limitations, in real time.
Italian Space Agency (ASI), Rome, , Italy
Alenia Spazio - Laben, Milano, , Italy
Sponsoring Space Agency
European Space Agency (ESA)
ISS Expedition Duration
March 2010 - March 2013
Previous ISS Missions
- Astronauts in orbit are exposed to cosmic radiation that is of sufficient frequency and intensity to cause effects on the central nervous system. Radiation exposure represents one of the greatest risks to humans traveling on exploration missions beyond low Earth orbit (LEO).
- ALTEA-Shield is part of the ALTEA program, a multidisciplinary research project which aims at obtaining a better understanding of the light flash phenomenon, and more generally the interaction between cosmic rays and brain functions. Interactions between ionizing radiation in space and brain functions, and the related risk assessments, are among the major concerns when programming long permanence in space.
- The Anomalous Long Term Effects in Astronauts' Central Nervous System - Shield (ALTEA-Shield) experiment, developed by the Italian Space Agency (ASI), will measure the particle flux in the U.S. Laboratory on the International Space Station (ISS), being able to discriminate the type of particles, to measure their trajectories and the delivered energies.
The Anomalous Long Term Effects in Astronauts' Central Nervous System - Shield (ALTEA-Shield) investigation provides an assessment of the radiation environment inside the International Space Station (ISS). The goal is to better understand the interaction between cosmic rays and brain functions. Since radiation exposure in space is one of the greatest risks to human health, a better understanding and characterization of the shielding capability of different materials is needed in order to enable future, long term human exploration.
It is vital for us to understand and monitor the radiation environment around our planet in order to safeguard our astronauts during their missions in low-Earth orbit. This is even more important for future human exploration missions outside of low-Earth orbit, such as to the Moon and Mars, where there is no longer any protective shielding coming from Earth’s magnetic field and there are greater problems posed by radiation in particular by events such as solar flares. The development of better shielding materials is a necessity for making improvements in future spacecraft and satellite design and essential mission planning. In addition to the positive effect this will have on human exploration missions, this will also help to extend the life of satellites in orbit by reducing the effect caused by solar and galactic radiation, which can damage satellite electronics.
With life on Earth becoming increasingly dependent on satellite communications and data, developing better shielding materials to extend the life of satellites will have a positive effect on communications and data services on earth. On Earth as well cosmic rays which get through Earth’s atmosphere can cause errors in integrated circuits such as data corruption in memory devices and incorrect CPU performance. New shielding materials could find their way into shielding applications for such electronic circuitry which is becoming more susceptible as it reduces in size. This can affect many industries from the automobile industry to aerospace to navigation. This type of research is also providing us on Earth with a more detailed picture of the radiation environment in low-Earth orbit which can help us better understand how our planet works. By comparing this data with data on Earth it could help to determine the impact that Earth’s radiation environment may have on climatology and thus help to improve climate models.
ALTEA-Shield will utilize the ALTEA hardware and perform radiation monitoring with shielding material on ALTEA detectors in the U.S. Laboratory.
Ground Based Results Publications
Di Fino L, Zaconte V, Ciccotelli A, Larosa M, Narici L. Fast Probabilistic Particle Identification algorithm using silicon strip detectors. Advances in Space Research. 2012; 50(3): 408-414.
The information on this page is provided courtesy of the ESA Erasmus Experiment Archive.
NASA Image: ISS013E65565 - ALTEA helmet inside the U.S. Laboratory of ISS during Expedition 13. The ALTEA hardware will be utilized in the ALTEA-Shield investigation.
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NASA Image: ISS024E015129 - The Anomalous Long Term Effects in Astronauts' Central Nervous System (ALTEA) during reconfiguration with Shield Isotropic Equipment.
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NASA Image: ISS027E017236 - European Space Agency astronaut Paolo Nespoli, Expedition 27 flight engineer, works with Anomalous Long Term Effects on Astronauts (ALTEA) Shield isotropic equipment in the Destiny laboratory of the International Space Station.
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