Wikipedia writes to say

Exposures on the ISS average 150 mSv per year, although frequent crew rotations minimize individual risk

I assume here the crew aboard the space-station receive more radiation during their stint than they would on Terra Firma over a year.

Random synapses firing ...

  • As compared to UV exposure on Earth' surface, how much more UV does a crew-member aboard ISS receive during the typical course of an expedition?
  • If the answer to the above is noticeably larger, would it translate to a visible tan on crew at debark as compared to the same crew at embarkation?
    • What about non-ISS expeditions?
  • Does the ISS medical inventory include a sun-tan/sunscreen lotion/cream?
    • How much of it is ferried in a typical resupply mission?
  • $\begingroup$ No- there's no sunblock in either Russian or US kits. $\endgroup$ Oct 3, 2014 at 16:27
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Astronauts tend not to spend a lot of time tanning on the upper deck wearing a mylar speedo. Nothing exposed directly to the sun -> no sunscreen needed. $\endgroup$
    – paul
    Oct 4, 2014 at 2:16
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @paul oh, the image... $\endgroup$
    – Davidmh
    Feb 1, 2016 at 22:58
  • $\begingroup$ Related:space.stackexchange.com/q/31024/6944 $\endgroup$ Feb 13, 2020 at 2:38

1 Answer 1


Ultraviolet radiation does not get through the aluminum hull of the space station, so no such protection is needed for the crew inside. The glass of EVA suits is made not to let UV light through, either. The same is true for the glass of the ISS' windows. So a random member of the ISS crew receives about as much UV radiation as you sitting inside writing this. Unless you use a CRT monitor, then they receive less.

The ionizing radiation the astronauts have to worry about is much shorter wave gamma radiation. And for that, there is no sunblock.

  • 4
    $\begingroup$ As a matter of fact, the CRT monitor that accompanied my first computer acquired way back in ... uh.. 1996/1997 or thereabouts has outlived 3 CPU replacements $\endgroup$
    – Everyone
    Oct 3, 2014 at 18:40
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ Tanning studios are overrated ;) $\endgroup$ Oct 3, 2014 at 19:09

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