Cucinotta, F. A., Kim, M-H. Y., Willingham, V. and George, K. A. Physical and Biological Organ Dosimetry Analysis for International Space Station Astronauts. Radiat. Res. 170, 127–138 (2008).
In this study, we analyzed the biological and physical organ dose equivalents for International Space Station (ISS) astronauts. Individual physical dosimetry is difficult in space due to the complexity of the space radiation environment, which consists of protons, heavy ions and secondary neutrons, and the modification of these radiation types in tissue as well as limitations in dosimeter devices that can be worn for several months in outer space. Astronauts returning from missions to the ISS undergo biodosimetry assessment of chromosomal damage in lymphocyte cells using the multicolor fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) technique. Individual-based pre-flight dose responses for lymphocyte exposure in vitro to γ rays were compared to those exposed to space radiation in vivo to determine an equivalent biological dose. We compared the ISS biodosimetry results, NASA's space radiation transport models of organ dose equivalents, and results from ISS and space shuttle phantom torso experiments. Physical and biological doses for 19 ISS astronauts yielded average effective doses and individual or population-based biological doses for the approximately 6-month missions of 72 mSv and 85 or 81 mGy-Eq, respectively. Analyses showed that 80% or more of organ dose equivalents on the ISS are from galactic cosmic rays and only a small contribution is from trapped protons and that GCR doses were decreased by the high level of solar activity in recent years. Comparisons of models to data showed that space radiation effective doses can be predicted to within about a ±10% accuracy by space radiation transport models. Finally, effective dose estimates for all previous NASA missions are summarized.