NASA will restart primate irradiation testing


Recently, NASA foretold the winners of 12 honours for analysing the biologic consequences of radiation. In the top of the list is a $1.75 million project to irradiate eighteen squirrel monkeys in an attempt to determine how space radiation affects the central nervous system.

If its accepted, the experimentation it's going to be the first NASA-funded primate project to start after more than 30 years.


The experimentation is destined to enquire the effects of solar flares and astronomic cosmic irradiations: both will bombard cosmonauts with burdened particles in heavier numbers once they leave the protective cover of Earth's magnetosphere.

Since 2004, the United States has started the big plan of returning the astronauts to the moon, with the ultimate goal of attending Mars. You can find evidence that space irradiation impacts the brain, but it's not very clear the real level of danger it poses to deep-space adventurers. NASA states the new experiment will show what it takes to protect them.


Experimentations on mice and rats have evidenced that irradiation will impact learning and memory. After the irradiation, the rats suffer a hard time navigating mazes. As well bear a more difficult time finding out how to press a lever for additional food and feel more anxiety in nerve-wracking situations.

It's not yet clear when will the experiment begin. The research proposition is still awaiting approval by the Brookhaven National Laboratory in Upton, New York, where the irradiation experiment might happen.