Radi-N2 Experiment | Bubbles that measure radiation to prevent cancer in space

The Radi-N2 experiment aims to reduce the health risks of exposure to this type of energy in future manned space travel.

Neutron radiation.
Neutron radiation.

Floating radiation detector on the International Space Station (NASA).

Neutron radiation is considered one of the most serious of all types of radiation experienced in space.

It occurs when cosmic rays - particles with high energy - collide with physical matter, such as the walls of the International Space Station (ISS), and that collision produces neutrons. 

Science experiment in space: how neutron radiation can cause cancer. 
Experiment in space

These can penetrate deep into human tissues and damage them, with the potential to cause long-term health problems such as cancer.

To help reduce the risk of such exposure in future manned travel, the Canadian Space Agency is conducting the Radi-N2 study.

Bubbles that measure radiation in space.
Bubbles that measure radiation in space.

This research has been designed to characterize radiation at various locations of the ISS, a permanently manned space laboratory that has been operating for nearly 20 years.

For this purpose, eight neutron "bubble detectors" are connected to fixed locations within the ISS, including one that has a crew members on board. 

These are tubes filled with a liquid that forms bubbles when it interacts with the neutrons. These are retained inside and allow visible detection of radiation.

Space Experiment data

The information collected by the detectors will be used to assess the radiation exposure of astronauts on board the station. 

The objective is to define the health risk of the crew members and provide the necessary data to develop advanced protection measures for future space flights.

In the next missions to Mars, the danger of radiation in deep space for crews can be a major obstacle. 

The trip itself represents an exposure several hundred times greater than that accumulated during the same period on the earth's surface.

And is that on Earth also occurs radiation by neutrons, but its intensity is much lower because our planet protects us from many of the cosmic rays thanks to the magnetic field.

Technologies for prediction, control and protection against this energy will therefore be a key part of every space mission that involves people.