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Published November 2022 | Accepted Version
Journal Article Open

Looking on the Horizon; Potential and Unique Approaches to Developing Radiation Countermeasures for Deep Space Travel


Future lunar missions and beyond will require new and innovative approaches to radiation countermeasures. The Translational Research Institute for Space Health (TRISH) is focused on identifying and supporting unique approaches to reduce risks to human health and performance on future missions beyond low Earth orbit. This paper will describe three funded and complementary avenues for reducing the risk to humans from radiation exposure experienced in deep space. The first focus is on identifying new therapeutic targets to reduce the damaging effects of radiation by focusing on high throughput genetic screens in accessible, sometimes called lower, organism models. The second focus is to design innovative approaches for countermeasure development with special attention to nucleotide-based methodologies that may constitute a more agile way to design therapeutics. The final focus is to develop new and innovative ways to test radiation countermeasures in a human model system. While animal studies continue to be beneficial in the study of space radiation, they can have imperfect translation to humans. The use of three-dimensional (3D) complex in vitro models is a promising approach to aid the development of new countermeasures and personalized assessments of radiation risks. These three distinct and unique approaches complement traditional space radiation efforts and should provide future space explorers with more options to safeguard their short and long-term health.

Additional Information

© 2022 Published by Elsevier B.V. on behalf of The Committee on Space Research (COSPAR). Under an Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0). Received 8 March 2022, Revised 29 July 2022, Accepted 4 August 2022, Available online 7 August 2022. This work was supported by the Translational Research Institute for Space Health through NASA Cooperative Agreement NNX16AO69A. Conflict of Interest: None.

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August 22, 2023
December 22, 2023