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Author(s): Roberta Anding, MS, RD/LD, CDE
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NASA Space Radiation Laboratory

Many different types of radiation encountered during space travel could produce adverse biological effects in astronauts. Exposure to ionizing radiation during space travel poses some unique hazards, however, primarily due to the presence of relatively large numbers of heavy ions in space. Although we are not exposed to heavy ions on earth, we can study their biological effects at the NASA Space Radiation Laboratory, known as NSRL, which is a facility at the Brookhaven National Laboratory in Upton, New York. NSRL provides beam lines of the energetic heavy ions encountered during space travel to support studies on the biologic effects of these types of radiations.