The heat is on

NASA and the National Space Biomedical Research Institute (NSBRI), Houston, have agreed to fund 17 new research projects exploring the health risks of space radiation.

As part of the Ground-based Studies in Space Radiation programme, scientists will work to develop effective shielding or biological solutions to protect space crews. The total potential value of the proposed projects is $15m.

Radiation exposure during missions to the Moon and Mars could cause health problems including cancer, acute radiation sickness, degenerative tissue damage and damage to the central nervous system.

Institutions and companies involved in the projects include the University of Maryland, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Promega Corp and University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center.