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Mission Questions

1.  What is radiation? Which one(s) of the following is (are) radiation?

a) X-ray

b) Infrared

c) Ultraviolet

d) Radio waves

e) Visible light waves

f) Gamma-ray


2.  How is radiation measured? What units do scientists use to measure radiation?


3.  How does frequency and wavelength differ among the types of radiation above?


4.  What kind of radiation will the astronauts encounter while still in the earth’s atmosphere? How will it differ as they approach Mars?


5.  What is the relationship between genes and proteins? Draw a picture to help explain the relationship, include the following terms in your picture: DNA, mRNA, Ribosome, tRNA, Nucleus, Cytoplasm, Transcription, and Translation


6.  What is a p53 gene? What is a p53 protein? What function does it have in a cell?


7.  How does the astronaut’s genomic profile increase or decrease his/her risk for cancer? Should the astronaut be excluded from space travel if (s)he has a p53 mutation? Why or why not?


8.  How will exposure to radiation affect an astronaut’s p53 gene? And p53 protein?


9.  How could radiation exposure increase the risk of cancer, for example of the lung?


10.  How does ultraviolet (UV) radiation affect life on earth? What are the benefits of UV radiation and what are the harms? What are some illnesses associated with too much UV exposure?


11.  What are the active ingredients in sunscreen? What are the roles of these chemicals?