# Radiation in space and its effects on chemical reactions?

I know that one current area of research is ways to protect astronauts from ionizing radiation when they venture out of the atmosphere of Earth, but would that same ionizing radiation be a cause of concern when performing chemical reactions in space or in the atmosphere of planets with little atmosphere?

I'm aware that radiation like ultraviolet, which is present in sunlight here on Earth, is used in organic chemistry for the homolytic fission of halides, but I'm not sure how much higher energy radiation might affect other reactions.

• Nice question and there is also Microwave chemistry and if i am correct space has background microwave radiation – Eka May 3 '15 at 16:15
• Isn't the clue in the name of the phenomenon, ionising radiation? The electromagnetic energy is strong enough to remove electrons. This would normally cause chemical changes to occur, much like in a mass spectrometer. If visible light can cleave bromine and UV can cause changes in vitamin D derivatives and stilbene to cyclise, I would anticipate ionising radiation to affect molecules much like it would chemicals in the cells in your body. – Beerhunter Aug 8 '15 at 20:48

Chemical reactions are typically driven by a few eV (electron volts). "Ionizing radiation" can be keV or MeV which is vastly excessive. In fact that amount of energy is so massive that it would "rip up" the chemical bonding in any material. Only solid metals would be somewhat stable since the 3D lattice locks the atoms into place. $\ce{NaCl}$ for example could decompose to Na metal and $\ce{Cl_2}$ gas.