Modelling human exposure to space radiation with different shielding: The FLUKA code coupled with anthropomorphic phantoms

F. Ballarini, D. Alloni, G. Battistoni, F. Cerutti, A. Ferrari, E. Gadioli, M. V. Garzelli, M. Liotta, A. Mairani, A. Ottolenghi, H. G. Paretzke, V. Parini, M. Pelliccioni, L. Pinsky, P. Sala, D. Scannicchio, S. Trovati, M. Zankl

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Astronauts′ exposure to the various components of the space radiation field is of great concern for long-term missions, especially for those in deep space such as a possible travel to Mars. Simulations based on radiation transport/interaction codes coupled with anthropomorphic model phantoms can be of great help in view of risk evaluation and shielding optimisation, which is therefore a crucial issue. The FLUKA Monte Carlo code can be coupled with two types of anthropomorphic phantom (a mathematical model and a voxel model) to calculate organ-averaged absorbed dose, dose equivalent and biological dose under different shielding conditions. Herein the biological dose is represented by the average number of Complex Lesions (CLs) per cell in a given organ. CLs are clustered DNA breaks previously calculated by means of event-by-event track structure simulations at the nm level and integrated on-line into FLUKA, which adopts a condensed-history approach; such lesions have been shown to play a fundamental role in chromosome aberration induction, which in turn can be correlated with carcinogenesis. Examples of calculation results will be presented relative to Galactic Cosmic Rays, as well as to the August 1972 Solar Particle Event. The contributions from primary ions and secondary particles will be shown separately, thus allowing quantification of the role played by nuclear reactions occurring in the shield and in the human body itself. As expected, the SPE doses decrease dramatically with increasing the Al shielding thickness; nuclear reaction products, essentially due to target fragmentation, are of minor importance. A 10 g/cm2 Al shelter resulted to be sufficient to respect the 30-day limits for deterministic effects recommended for missions in Low Earth Orbit. In contrast with the results obtained for SPEs, the calculated GCR doses are almost independent of the Al shield thickness, and the GCR doses to internal organs are not significantly lower than the skin doses. Furthermore, nuclear interactions play a much larger role for GCR than for SPE doses.

Original languageEnglish
Article number012
Pages (from-to)135-142
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Physics: Conference Series
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - May 1 2006

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physics and Astronomy(all)


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