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Space Radiation Element

The Space Radiation Element (SRE) of NASA’s Human Research Program (HRP) seeks to characterize human health outcomes associated with space radiation exposure, helping the space agency build strategies that protect astronaut health and ensure safe human spaceflight.


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About SRE

Astronauts will be exposed to increased levels of ionizing radiation on missions outside Earth's protective atmosphere. SRE helps understand how this ionizing radiation affects the human body.

NASA astronaut Drew Feustel pictured during a spacewalk

Space Radiation Risks

SRE scientists are tackling several risks associated with space radiation, such as cancer, heart disease, and cataracts, to ensure the health and safety of astronauts in low-Earth orbit and beyond.

Meet the Team

Meet the team behind SRE, including element managers and scientists who help facilitate research aboard the International Space Station and in simulations on Earth.

NASA astronaut Jasmin Moghbeli services microbe samples for DNA sequencing aboard the International Space Station.

Collaborate With Us

Find different ways to collaborate with NASA’s HRP and help us discover how to keep the next generation of space explorers thriving on future missions to the Moon, Mars, and beyond.

Video Series: What Is Space Radiation?

Our space radiation miniseries discusses what causes space radiation, how space radiation affects the human body, how NASA protects astronauts, and more.

Watch Here about Video Series: What Is Space Radiation?
Space radiation is made up of protons and all the elements on the periodic table. It enters the human body at energies approaching the speed of light and can damage DNA.

Explore Space Radiation

Check out courses, established models, methods for sharing samples, and encyclopedic reference material useful for studying risks posed by space radiation.

NASA’s SHINE Program

Researchers can apply for virtual courses that provide an overview of the space radiation environment and how it impacts human health.

Hazard 1: Radiation

Models that Quantify Risk

Software that model the space radiation environment is available for download by authorized users.

Tissue Sharing Forum

Samples collected from studies funded by SRE are now available to investigators in the space radiation research community.

NASA’s Human Research Program aims to mitigate the harmful effects of the space radiation environment on astronaut health outside of the relative protection of the Earth's magnetosphere.

The Health Risks of Extraterrestrial Environments (THREE)

THREE is an encyclopedic reference site that explains the space radiation environment and its health risks to humans.

Delve Into Selected Projects

SRE contributes to several cutting-edge research efforts. Below are just a few.

NASA Space Radiation Laboratory (NSRL)

NSRL helps to assess health risks associated with cosmic radiation. To better understand these risks, NASA has teamed with the U.S. Department of Energy to establish this lab. 

A whole series of loops towered above a group of active regions over a five-days period.

Space Radiation Analysis Group (SRAG)

SRAG, based at NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston, works to ensure that the radiation exposure received by astronauts remains below established safety limits.

White House Cancer Moonshot

SRE scientists are working with doctors and researchers across the federal government to help cut the nation’s cancer death rate by at least 50% over the next 25 years.

Artist concept of Artemis astronaut on moon with Lunar rover and Earth crescent in the background.

NASA Space Cancer Risk Model

Watch a webinar about how NASA models the differences between space and terrestrial radiation to assess the risk of astronauts developing cancer from space radiation exposure.

Featured Story

The Human Body in Space

For more than 50 years, NASA’s Human Research Program (HRP) has studied what happens to the human body in space. Researchers…

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