Leading Astrophysicist, Dr Joseph Roche from Trinity College Dublin, has formally endorsed the SR2S Mars project. SR2S Mars is an EU FP7 funded research project that has designed a shielding mechanism to protect astronauts during deep space missions, including future missions to Mars.
Carr Communications, one of the SR2S Project members, asked Dr Roche his opinion on the validity of this FP7 funded project to create a protective shield for astronauts’ use while spending extended periods of time in space. He said:
“We need to look towards the future. SR2S Mars certainly does that and is a step forward in advancements needed for the future of deep space missions. Protection is one of the first things we need to address and SR2S Mars is working to address this challenge.”
Latest research findings show that the levels of radiation exposure in space for astronauts is far more extensive and dangerous than originally anticipated. Speaking about this, Dr Roche said:
“One of the main obstacles is the radiation exposure. We don’t know how to deal with the consequences. For example, there have been proposals for potential spacecraft to have a radiation shelter inside a hollow water tank. In this way the astronauts water supply could provide additional shielding during solar storms. However this is an experimental idea and needs further development.”
In response to questions about the viability of humans and robots going to Mars, the Professor said:
“It would be more useful to have living, thinking, human scientists on the surface of Mars. However, we shouldn’t give up on robotic rovers as they will remain crucial to improving our understanding of the Martian surface before manned missions are ever considered.”
SR2S focuses on the use of superconducting magnets to deflect dangerous radiation on manned missions into deep space. It has developed a range of innovative components and technologies that are light, compact, energy-efficient and reliable.
The project’s advances include cutting-edge superconducting materials, and a powerful system to cool the equipment that is exposed to the sun.
Project Coordinator, Roberto Battiston from the National Institute of Physics in Italy said:
“These breakthroughs are hugely significant for manned space exploration. Further development is needed to prepare the technology for deployment, which could take up to 20 years.”