Neutron production in a spherical phantom aboard the international space station
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Since the beginning of space exploration in last century, several kinds of devices from passive and active dosimeters to radiation environment monitors have been used to measure radiation levels onboard different space crafts and shuttles allowing the space community to identify and quantify space radiation. The recent construction of several laboratories on the International Space Station (ISS) has confirmed that prolonged duration space missions are now becoming standard practice and as such, the need to better understand the potential risk of space radiation to Astronaut’s health, has become a priority for long mission planner. The complex internal radiation environment created within the ISS is due to high-energy particle interactions within the ISS shielded environment. As a result, a large number of secondary particles, that pose specific health risks, are created. Neutrons are one important component of this mixed radiation field due to their high LET. Therefore, the assessment of the neutron dose contribution has become an important part of the safety and monitoring program onboard the ISS. The need to determine whether neutron dose measured externally to the human body give an accurate and conservative estimate of the dose received internally is of paramount importance for long term manned space missions. This thesis presents a part of an ongoing large research program on radiation monitoring on ISS called Matroshka-R Project that was established to analyze the radiation exposure levels onboard the ISS using different radiation instruments and a spherical phantom to simulate human body. Monte Carlo transport code was used to simulate the interaction of high energy protons and neutrons with the spherical phantom currently onboard ISS. A Monte Carlo model of the phantom has been built, and it consists of seven spherical layers presenting different depths of the simulated tissue. The phantom has been exposed to individual proton energies and to a spectrum of neutrons. The flux of the created neutrons inside the phantom has been calculated. The internal to external neutron flux ratio was calculated and compared to the experimental data, recently, measured on three separate expeditions of the ISS. The results from the calculations showed that the value of the neutron fluxes inside and outside the phantom is different from the data recently measured with bubble detectors.