Uploaded on April 15, 2019
Cosmic radiation – Questions and answers with David Saint-Jacques live from space
2019-04-15 - During the launch of the Astro Pi Challenge in Canada, Canadian Space Agency astronaut David Saint-Jacques answers the following question, live from the International Space Station: What is cosmic radiation and what does it do to your body?
(Credits: Canadian Space Agency, NASA)
Text: What is cosmic radiation and what does it do to your body? - Aleksandre
David Saint-Jacques: So, cosmic radiation is small elementary particles, like electrons or protons, that come from far, far away, that come from deep, deep, deep within the universe. Others come directly from the Sun, and which normally are – we are protected on Earth, by the atmosphere. The magnetic field belt and then the atmosphere stop most of that radiation, and we are protected.
Here, in space, we are less protected. We just have the walls of our Space Station to protect us. They are not very thick. And when that radiation hits our bodies, it can make changes to our DNA, to our genetic code. Often, changes to the genetic code don’t matter – the body can fix it. Or, if it's a part of our genetic code that’s not very important, it doesn’t change anything. But sometimes, if you're not lucky, that's how a cancer can start. So that's the biggest risk, perhaps, related to radiation.