The field of radiation encountered in space is much more complex than anything encountered on the ground. Radiation protection is, therefore, an important concern for the ground medical support personnel who provide for the health and safety of our astronauts. Radiation protection personnel are concerned first with measuring, and characterizing astronaut radiation exposures, and then with managing these exposures to maintain the minimum possible risk to the astronaut.
The mission of Wyle's Radiation Biophysics group at NASA's Johnson Space Center is to apply the latest technology and provide recommendations to the mission flight director that will result in the lowest radiation exposure possible for the flight crew. Wyle personnel perform two primary functions: operational biodosimetry and modeling of space radiation's interactions with matter to predict exposures for mission planning and flight support.
Wyle and its contractor teammates support NASA’s modeling function which involves developing, implementing, maintaining, and refining computer programs that, used alongside vehicle models, predict radiation exposures in space. Fluctuations in solar activity, changes in vehicle orbit, and changes in other radiation sources can cause the rates of exposure to crewmembers to vary dramatically over time intervals as short as minutes. Modeling allows Wyle personnel to anticipate dangerous conditions and minimize crew exposure. Toward this end, these models assemble knowledge of vehicle construction, the interactions of radiation with matter, and empirical models of the radiation environment in space using the latest in cytogenetic technology, state-of-the-art computing facilities, and computational techniques to provide the best possible level of radiological safety to astronaut crews.