Encyclopedia of Astrobiology

Living Edition
| Editors: Muriel Gargaud, William M. Irvine, Ricardo Amils, Henderson James Cleaves, Daniele Pinti, José Cernicharo Quintanilla, Michel Viso

HZE Particle

  • Gerda Horneck
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-642-27833-4_769-3



HZE particles are a component of cosmic radiation consisting of energetic heavy nuclei (atomic number 3 or greater), so named for their high (H) atomic number (Z) and high energy (E). They contribute roughly 1 % of the flux of galactic cosmic radiation and to an even lesser fraction to solar particle events. Because of the difficulty of adequate shielding and the special nature of HZE particle-produced lesions, these particles are considered a major hazard to living beings in space, especially outside Earth’s magnetosphere, that is, to human exploratory missions and interplanetary transfer of life by natural processes.

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© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.DLR German Aerospace CenterInstitute of Aerospace Medicine, Radiation Biology, Building 24, ContractorKölnGermany