Astronaut radiation shield to be tested on mission to the moon

Astronauts radiation shield to be tested on mission to the moon

The radiation vest will be taken to the moon for testing

Friday, March 3, 2017

A vest designed to protect astronauts from solar particles in deep space is to be tested on a mission to the moon, according to developers.

Tel Aviv-based company StemRad is creating the device, which is named the AstroRad Radiation Shield and is intended to eventually be used on missions to Mars, Reuters reported.

They previously marketed a belt said to protect rescue workers working in areas of harmful gamma ray radiation emitted in nuclear disasters.

As the vest has shown promise in laboratories and in simulations, it will now be taken on board the unmanned Orion spacecraft for testing, which is set to orbit the moon during the flight of Nasa's heavy-lift space launch system rocket in late 2018.

During this test the shield will be attached to a dummy, which will monitor radiation absorption. Another dummy will be sent with no protection, so that both can be compared when they arrive back to earth.

So far only mock-ups of the vest have been made, but the first full protective vest is expected to be produced by the end of this year, according to StemRad's CEO Oren Milstein.

He said the shield will protect human tissue and especially stem cells, which could be affected by solar radiation in deep space or on Mars, because there is little atmosphere.

The vests will be made specifically for each astronaut and is created with several layers.