The current radiation protection guidelines of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) were recommended in 1970. The career limit was set at 4.0 Sv (400 rem). Using the same approach as in 1970 but current risk estimates, a considerably lower career limit would obtain today. Also, there is now much more information about the radiation environments that will be experienced in different missions. Furthermore, since 1970 women have joined the ranks of the astronauts. For these and other reasons, it was considered necessary to re-examine the radiation protection guidelines. This task has been undertaken by the National Council on Radiation Protection and Measurements Scientific Committee 75. Within the magnetosphere, the radiation environment varies with altitude and inclination of the orbit. In outer space missions, galactic cosmic rays, with the small but important heavy-ion component, determine the radiation environment. The new recommendations for career dose limits, based on lifetime excess risk of cancer mortality, take into account age at first exposure and sex. The career limits range from 1.0 Sv (100 rem) for a 24-y-old female up to 4.0 Sv (400 rem) for a 55-y-old male, compared with the previous single limit of 4.0 Sv (400 rem). The career limit for the lens of the eye has been reduced from 6.0 Sv (600 rem) to 4.0 Sv (400 rem).
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