A review of ground-based heavy ion radiobiology relevant to space radiation risk assessment: Cataracts and CNS effects
Analysis of the numerous potential risks of travel into deep space is critical to future manned missions. Despite the availability of significant new information on heavy-ion radiobiology at high doses and high dose-rates, radiation effects on human physiology during space travel, and later in the career of the space traveler, remain high on the list of what still needs to be known under space radiation scenarios. Cancer risks have long been considered the most serious late effect from chronic daily relatively low-dose exposures to the complex space radiation environment. However, other late radiation effects from space radiation scenarios are under study in ground-based accelerator facilities and have revealed some unique particle radiation effects not observed with conventional radiations. A comprehensive review of pertinent literature that considers functional degradation of specific body organs and systems at risk has recently been published (NCRP Report #153, 2006). This paper highlights the review of two noncancer concerns from this report: cataracts and effects on the central nervous system.