Scanning Electron Microscopy


Densely ionizing, particulate radiations in outer space are likely to cause to mammalian tissues biological damage that is particularly amenable to examination by the techniques of electron microscopy. This situation arises primarily from the fact that once the density of ionization along the particle track exceeds a certain value, small discrete lesions involving many adjacent cells may be caused in organized tissues. Tissue damage produced by ionization densities below the critical value also afford opportunities for electron microscopic evaluation, as is shown by the damage produced in optic and proximate tissues of the New Zealand white rabbit in terrestrial experiments. Late radiation sequelae in nondividing, or terminally differentiating, tissues, and in stem cell populations, are of special importance in these regards.

It is probable that evaluations of the hazards posed to astronauts by galactic particulate radiations during prolonged missions in outer space will not be complete without adequate electron microscopic evaluation of the damage those radiations cause to organized tissues.

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