If we’re ever to colonize other planets, we’ll have to deal with increased radiation environments. Starting in 1969, 24 astronauts ventured beyond Earth’s atmosphere and magnetosphere, leaving behind all layers of cosmic ray protection. U.S. astronaut Shannon Lucid cites this hazard as the biggest challenge for manned space exploration.
It may already have cost some astronauts their lives. Five of the original space pioneers have died of cancer. Alan Shepard publicly wondered if his Apollo radiation exposure had given him the leukemia that ultimately killed him. And studies show that radiation is particularly bad for the heart.
Astronomy magazine subscribers can read the full article for free. Just make sure you’re registered with the website.