Thursday, April 18, 2024

Why does NASA allow male astronauts to spend more time in space than female? | Science


When both women and men were exposed to high levels of radiation at the same time, women were twice as likely to develop lung cancer than men.

The Earth is surrounded by ionizing radiation coming from the space around it every day. Ionizing radiation is high energy waves that can remove electrons from atoms in the body, and high levels of radiation can lead to diseases and cancer.

Fortunately, the existence of both our planet’s magnetic field and atmosphere almost prevents this radiation – the cosmic rays of the sun and galaxy from erupting stars – from reaching life on Earth.

This is different from the International Space Station (ISS). Although it is still protected by the Earth’s magnetic field, it is outside the Earth’s atmosphere, so astronauts are exposed to high levels of ionizing radiation, which increases their risk of cancer. Their careers and presence in space.

Women are more susceptible to ionizing radiation than men, especially to lung cancer (French)

Radiation level limits and why do they differ?

According to To report Published on the “Live Science” website, it was created to protect astronauts from the dangers of radiation. NASA Limits on this radiation exposure have been in effect since 1989; This determines how long astronauts can stay out of Earth.

This maximum is not the same for both men and women and varies depending on their age. The incidence of cancers caused by radiation exposure varies with age and reproductive organs.

Accordingly, female NASA astronauts cannot spend the same amount of time as men on the International Space Station. This also applies to young astronauts who cannot stay in space until they are their old colleagues, who are not old enough to develop cancer.

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Based on the total amount of radiation exposure an astronaut is 3% more likely to die of cancer in his or her lifetime.

This risk is estimated based on age and gender, with a minimum of 180 mSv radiation for a 30-year-old woman working in an agency and a maximum of 700 mSv for a 60-year-old. Who worked in the agency. The sievert is the unit for measuring the amount of atomic radiation.

NASA is moving to change the working radiation limit to 600 millisieverts for all ages (Reuters) and all astronauts.

Job disappointment for female astronauts

Those guidelines and the radiation exposure limits set by NASA had real operational consequences for female astronauts.

For example, in 2018, Becky Whitson, the former head of NASA astronauts – the first woman to command the International Space Station – was forced to retire at the age of 57 after she pushed the limits of her life to radiation exposure. She publicly expressed her frustration with the radiation limits set by NASA for female astronauts.

However, NASA’s radiation limits are expected to change in the future. NASA has asked a panel of experts convened by the National Institutes of Science, Engineering and Medicine to evaluate the space agency’s plan to convert the range of functional radiation for all astronauts of all ages to 600 millisieverts by 2021.

NASA has set this limit, using the agency’s cancer risk model for the most vulnerable individuals – women – early in their careers.

At 600 mSv, an astronaut will be exposed to the International Space Station for 6 months and 4 missions.

In other words, the average annual average amount of radiation received by one person on Earth is about 3.6 millisieverts, and 300 millisieverts per year at the International Space Station.

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The new range also indicates that women can extend space life (Getty Images)

The issue of work equality and morality

Preston, who has also chaired an expert panel at the National Academies for Assessing Cancer Risk in Human Space Travel, says the new limit will “reduce the size for certain male groups, especially older men.” But it also means that women can extend the mission with NASA.

To achieve this employment equality, Preston adds, women can get higher than they currently are exposed to, and although this has long been discussed as a ethical issue, it is difficult to balance that slightly higher level of impact. Equal employment with men.

NASA’s proposed project would also exclude professional exposure limits for long missions such as missions to Mars, exposing astronauts to 900 mSv.

If NASA decides that this is an important mission, NASA may waive maximum exposure if some astronauts are critical to the mission and violate their professional exposure to radiation.

Nadia Barnett
Nadia Barnett
"Award-winning beer geek. Extreme coffeeaholic. Introvert. Avid travel specialist. Hipster-friendly communicator."

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