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Sending dummies into space, to test effects of radiation on women

Radiation for dummies, Space Daily, by Staff Writers, Paris (ESA) Jan 28, 2019  Meet Helga and Zohar, the dummies destined for a pioneering lunar flyby to help protect space travelers from cosmic rays and energetic solar storms.

These two female phantoms will occupy the passenger seats during Orion’s first mission around the Moon, going further than any human has flown before.

Fitted with more than 5600 sensors, the pair will measure the amount of radiation astronauts could be exposed to in future missions with unprecedented precision.

The flight test will take place during NASA’s Exploration Mission-1, an uncrewed trip to the vicinity of the Moon and back to Earth.

Radiation poses a major health risk to people in space. Astronauts on the International Space Station receive doses 250 higher than on Earth. Away from Earth’s magnetic field and into interplanetary space, the impact on the human body could be much higher – up to 700 times more.

Two sources of radiation are of concern: galactic cosmic radiation and virulent solar particle events. This radiation could increase the crew’s risk of cancer and become a limiting factor in missions to the Moon and Mars.

Helga and Zohar
The two phantoms simulate adult female torsos. Both Helga and Zohar are made up of 38 slices of tissue-equivalent plastics that mimic the varying density of bones, soft tissue and lungs. Similar dummies are used in hospitals to quantify the right dose of radiation for cancer therapies.

“We chose female phantoms because the number of women astronauts is increasing, and also because the female body is typically more vulnerable to radiation,” explains Thomas Berger, lead scientist of the Matroshka AstroRad Radiation Experiment (MARE) at the German Aerospace Center, DLR.

Sensors have been fitted in the most radiation-sensitive areas of the body – lungs, stomach, uterus and bone marrow. While thousands of passive dosimeters will record the radiation dose from launch until return to Earth, a set of 16 active detectors will map the radiation dose both on the phantoms’ skin and internal organs during flight.

An astronaut’s shield

The only difference between the twin dummies is that Zohar will be wearing a radiation protection vest, while Helga will travel unprotected from spaceborne radiation…….. http://www.spacedaily.com/reports/Radiation_for_dummies_999.html

 

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February 4, 2019 - Posted by | radiation, technology, women

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