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Acta Astronaut. 1981 Sep-Oct;8(9-10):1099-107.

The role of HZE particles in space flight: results from spaceflight and ground-based experiments.

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  • 1DFVLR, Institut fur Flugmedizin, Abt. Biophysik, Frankfurt/Main, FRG.


Selected results from experiments investigating the potentially specific radiobiological importance of the cosmic HZE (= high Z, energetic) particles are discussed. Results from the Biostack space flight experiments, which were designed to meet the experimental requirements imposed by the microdosimetric nature of this radiation field, clearly indicate the existence of radiation mechanisms which become effective only at higher values of LET (linear energy transfer). Accelerator irradiation studies are reviewed which conform with this conjecture. The recently discovered production of "micro-lesions" in mammalian tissues by single HZE particles is possibly the most direct evidence. Open questions concerning the establishment of radiation standards for manned spaceflight, such as late effects, interaction with flight dynamic parameters, and weightlessness, are indicated.

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