The online version of Italian newspaper "La Stampa" has posted a feature on the previous day's workshop conference organised by SR2S and Thales Alenia Space. To read more and view a photo gallery from the workshop, click here.
Seven European organisations have come together as part of an EU Seventh Framework Research Programme with the aim of developing a practical solution to protect astronauts from ionising radiation during periods in space beyond two years - for example a Mission to Mars. The project entitled Space Radiation Superconductive Shield (SR2S) will run for a period of three years.
With a section devoted specifically to "Radiation", NASA's Human Research Program have posted an interactive presentation entitled "How Astronauts are Affected by Space Exploration". The presentation also includes sections covering the areas of Muscle, Bone, Exercise, Cardiovascular, Sensory Motor, Food and Nutrition, Sleep Cycle and Medical Care.
The aim of the project has been to develop, validate and increase the Technology Readiness Level (TRL) of the most critical technologies related to a magnetic shielding system for protecting astronauts’ lives during long duration space missions.
Long duration permanence in deep space or on the surface of planet not protected by a thick atmosphere and/or magnetosphere represent a challenge which remains, as today, unsolved. Long term exposure to Galactic Cosmic Rays (GCR) and Solar Energetic Particles (SEP) is thought to cause a significant increase in the probability of various type of cancers. Means to adequately shield the astronauts from the ionising radiation are required in order to realistically plan for exploration missions to Mars, Near Earth Asteroids or for setting on the Moon surface.
During the rover's cruise to Mars between December 2011 and July 2012, RAD showed that an astronaut would clock up the same radiation dose in a day that the average American receives in a year. If you exclude medical dosages, it would be 10 times more than the average American.
Radiation has long been an issue when it comes to space travel. In fact, NASA's Mars rover Curiosity recently confirmed previous research on the hazards of space radiation, revealing that radiation levels on the way to the Red Planet are several hundred times higher than the those humans receive on Earth. Now, scientists may have found a way to shield astronauts from the hazards of this radiation.