Why does NASA allow more male astronauts to stay in space than women? | Sciences

Why does NASA allow more male astronauts to stay in space than women?  |  Sciences

When women and men were exposed to high levels of radiation at the same time, women were twice as likely as men to develop lung cancer.

The Earth is surrounded every day by ionizing radiation coming from everywhere in the surrounding space. Ionizing radiation is high energy waves that can remove electrons from atoms in the body, and high levels of exposure radiation can cause disease and cancer.

Unfortunately, the presence of our planet’s magnetic field and atmosphere largely prevents this radiation – galactic cosmic rays from the Sun and exploding stars – from reaching life on Earth.

Unlike the International Space Station (ISS), which is still protected by the Earth’s magnetic field, it is outside the Earth’s atmosphere, so astronauts are exposed to high levels of ionizing radiation, which increases their risk of cancer. The course of their careers and their presence in space.

Women were more sensitive to ionizing radiation than men, especially to lung cancer (French).

Radiation dose limits, why are they different?

According to To report Published on the “Live Science” website, developed by me to protect astronauts from the dangers of radiation NASA Limits on radiation exposure have been in place since 1989; This determines how long astronauts can stay outside the Earth.

This maximum is not the same for women and men and varies according to their age. The incidence of cancers caused by radiation exposure varies with age and reproductive organs.

Accordingly, NASA’s female astronauts will not be able to spend the same amount of time as men on the International Space Station. This also applies to young astronauts who are too young to get cancer and cannot stay in space as long as their senior colleagues are.

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The cap is based on the total amount of radiation exposure that an astronaut is 3% more likely to die of cancer in his or her lifetime.

This risk is assessed on a scale based on age and gender, with a woman in her 30s having a minimum of 180 mSv of radiation in her career with the agency and a maximum of 700 mSv for a man in his 60s who has worked in the agency. Sewert is a unit for measuring the magnitude of nuclear radiation.

NASA moves to limit functional radiation limit to 600 millisieverts for all astronauts of all ages (Reuters)

Job frustration for female astronauts

Those guidelines and radiation exposure limits set by NASA had real operational implications for female astronauts.

For example, in 2018, Peggy Whitson, the former head of the NASA Astronaut Corps – the first woman to command the International Space Station – was forced to retire at the age of 57 after pushing the boundaries of her career into radiation exposure. She publicly expressed her frustration with the radiation limits set by NASA for female astronauts.

However, NASA’s radiation limits are expected to change in the near future. NASA has asked a panel of experts convened by the National Academy of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine in 2021 to evaluate the space agency’s plan to convert the functional radiation limit to 600 milliseconds for all astronauts of all ages.

NASA set the limit for the most vulnerable individuals – women – by applying the agency’s agency for cancer risk early in their careers.

The dose of 600 mSv is translated into one astronaut’s contact in 4 missions of 6 months on the International Space Station.

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In other words, the average annual amount of radiation received by the average person on Earth is about 3.6 millisieverts, more than 300 millivertons per year on the International Space Station.

The new limit means that women can prolong their life in space (Getty Images)

Labor equality and a moral issue

Preston, who was vice chairman of the Expert Committee on National Academies for Assessing the Risk of Cancer in Manned Space Missions, says the new limit “will reduce the dose for certain groups of men, especially older men.” But it also means that women could expand their careers at NASA.

To achieve this job equality, Preston adds, women may receive higher doses than they are currently exposed to, although this has long been discussed as a moral issue, the impact of that slightly higher dose is difficult to balance. Equal employment opportunities for men.

NASA’s specific plan also eliminates occupational exposure limits for longer missions, such as missions to Mars, which expose astronauts to about 900 mSv.

In the event that NASA decides that this is a critical mission, NASA can avoid maximum exposure if there are certain astronauts who are critical to the mission and their occupational exposure to radiation.

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