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Future space scientists in training at BNL's NSRL

Daniela Trani, Temple University, a student in BNL’s NASA Space Radiation Summer School
Click here for a high resolution photograph.

How does deep-space radiation affect the brain? The heart? What is the danger of developing cancer during long space voyages — and how can we best shield against it?

These and other questions about health and space travel were examined by a group of 15 graduate students, postdoctoral fellows and working scientists participating in the National Aeronautics & Space Administration (NASA) Summer Student Program, which was heldearlier in June for its second year at BNL.

Sponsored by NASA, and organized and managed by BNL, Loma Linda University (LLU) Medical Center, and Universities Space Research Association, a consortium of universities, research organizations, and governmental groups involved in space research, the program’s goal is to provide a “pipeline” of researchers for the nascent field of space radiobiology.

“We need a better understanding of the effects of ionizing radiation found in long-distance and longterm space flights, and how we can best shield against it,” explained Marcelo Vazquez, BNL Medical Department, who co-directed the program with Gregory Nelson, LLU, and is also the National Space Biomedical Research Institute/NASA Space Radiation liaison. “There is a strong need for scientists dedicated exclusively to this field who will ask the best questions and seek good answers.”

The three-week residential program was held at BNL’s NASA Space Radiation Laboratory (NSRL) and Medical Department. NSRL is a unique scientific facility that simulates the harsh radiation environment of outer space.



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