An alternative approach that is particularly suitable for the radiation health risk assessment (HRA) of astronauts is presented. The quantity, Radiation Attributed Decrease of Survival (RADS), representing the cumulative decrease in the unknown survival curve at a certain attained age, due to the radiation exposure at an earlier age, forms the basis for this alternative approach. Results are provided for all solid cancer plus leukemia incidence RADS from estimated doses from theoretical radiation exposures accumulated during long-term missions to the Moon or Mars. For example, it is shown that a 1000-day Mars exploration mission with a hypothetical mission effective dose of 1.07 Sv at typical astronaut ages around 40 years old, will result in the probability of surviving free of all types of solid cancer and leukemia until retirement age (65 years) being reduced by 4.2% (95% CI 3.2; 5.3) for males and 5.8% (95% CI 4.8; 7.0) for females. RADS dose-responses are given, for the outcomes for incidence of all solid cancer, leukemia, lung and female breast cancer. Results showing how RADS varies with age at exposure, attained age and other factors are also presented. The advantages of this alternative approach, over currently applied methodologies for the long-term radiation protection of astronauts after mission exposures, are presented with example calculations applicable to European astronaut occupational HRA. Some tentative suggestions for new types of occupational risk limits for space missions are given while acknowledging that the setting of astronaut radiation-related risk limits will ultimately be decided by the Space Agencies. Suggestions are provided for further work which builds on and extends this new HRA approach, e.g., by eventually including non-cancer effects and detailed space dosimetry.
KeywordsRadiation Attributed Decrease Of Survival ; Radiation Risk Model ; Radiation-related Cancer ; Space Flight ; Space Radiation Protection; Atomic-bomb Survivors; Solid Cancer Incidence; Relative Risk; Life-span; Mortality