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Radiation: June 2009


Cosmic rays represent one of the most fascinating research themes in modern astronomy and physics. Significant progress is being made toward an understanding of the astrophysics of the sources of cosmic rays and the physics of interactions in the ultrahigh-energy range. This is possible because several new experiments in these areas have been initiated. Cosmic rays may hold answers to a great number of fundamental questions, but they also shape our natural habitat and influence the radiation environment of our planet Earth. The importance of the study of cosmic rays has been acknowledged in many fields, including space weather science and astrobiology.

NASA has selected four proposals for research to help understand space radiation's affects on human living in space. NASA selected proposals from the New York University School of Medicine in New York, the University of Texas Medical Branch in Houston, Loma Linda University in California and Georgetown University in Washington. The universities will work with collaborating organizations around the country.

These institutions will become NASA Specialized Centers of Research. They will consist of teams of investigators who have complementary skills and work together to solve a closely focused set of research questions. The proposals support the space radiation program element within NASA's Human Research Program.