Vive la radiorésistance!: converging research in radiobiology and biogerontology to enhance human radioresistance for deep space exploration and colonization

Oncotarget. 2018 Feb 12;9(18):14692-14722. doi: 10.18632/oncotarget.24461. eCollection 2018 Mar 6.


While many efforts have been made to pave the way toward human space colonization, little consideration has been given to the methods of protecting spacefarers against harsh cosmic and local radioactive environments and the high costs associated with protection from the deleterious physiological effects of exposure to high-Linear energy transfer (high-LET) radiation. Herein, we lay the foundations of a roadmap toward enhancing human radioresistance for the purposes of deep space colonization and exploration. We outline future research directions toward the goal of enhancing human radioresistance, including upregulation of endogenous repair and radioprotective mechanisms, possible leeways into gene therapy in order to enhance radioresistance via the translation of exogenous and engineered DNA repair and radioprotective mechanisms, the substitution of organic molecules with fortified isoforms, and methods of slowing metabolic activity while preserving cognitive function. We conclude by presenting the known associations between radioresistance and longevity, and articulating the position that enhancing human radioresistance is likely to extend the healthspan of human spacefarers as well.

Keywords: DNA damage; Mars mission; longevity; radioresistance; space exploration.

Publication types

  • Review