Iron flux inside the International Space Station is measured to be lower than predicted
L. Narici, M. Casolino, L. Di Fino, M. Larosa, O. Larsson, P. Picozza, V. Zaconte ; ASI sponsor ; et al. ; - ASI Sponsor
Dec - 2013
DOI: 10.1016/j.radmeas.2012.07.006
ISSN : 1350-4487 ;
journal : Radiation Measurements

Volume : 47 ; Issue : 10
type: Article Journal

Iron abundance in cosmic rays impinging on astronauts in space habitats is of paramount importance when calculating the radiation risk for human space exploration. The concurrent high relative abundance of iron in Galactic Cosmic Rays (GCR) and iron ability to produce damages at cellular and molecular levels, together with recent radiobiology results suggests iron as a major candidate to be studied in order to produce accurate radiation hazard assessments. Iron may be in fact responsible for a large percentage of cancer risk during a long interplanetary voyage, and therefore deserves a specific attention. We built a simple model based on CREME96 for the radiation in the International Space Station (ISS) and tested it against recently performed measurements with the ALTEA and Alteino particle detectors. While we can report a good agreement between 50m and 250 keV/μm (very good for several peaks such as Si, Mg, S) we show an overestimation by this model of iron abundances of about 25–80% when compared to the measurements. New analysis on previously published work, supporting this result, are also reported.Reasons for this overestimation are discussed, they are likely to be related to the not detailed enough transport through the multiplicity of the ISS shielding and to the often used simplification of “aluminum equivalent shielding”. The iron sources in LEO, possibly not yet accurate enough when transported in Low Earth Orbit, can also play a role. New concurrent measurements (inside–outside the ISS) are suggested to help resolving this issue.

keywords : ISS; CREME96; Iron abundance; ALTEA; Radiation measurements; Radiation modeling