When astronauts travel outside low-Earth orbit, they will be at risk of exposure to bursts of radiation called solar particle events (SPEs). The health problems, called acute radiation sickness (ARS), caused by the SPEs can occur immediately. Symptoms of ARS include nausea, vomiting and fatigue, followed by potential skin injury and changes to white blood cell counts and the immune system.
The Center of Acute Radiation Research (CARR) Director Dr. Ann Kennedy is leading a group of researchers working on five projects to assess the immediate effects of radiation exposure from SPEs, better define the risks, and develop and test methods to protect astronauts. The researchers will use animal models to conduct the studies.