Israel’s Space Agency (ISA) and NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration) announced on Tuesday that they were joining forces to protect astronauts in space from radiation exposure, tapping into technology developed by Israeli company StemRad for a radiation protection vest it created, the AstroRad, set to be tested in deep space.
NASA is set to launch the AstroRad into space as part of the last test flight of its Orion spacecraft, with dummies on deck, before manned missions begin. The launch is planned for 2019 and the spacecraft will spend about three weeks in space, including in retrograde orbit around the moon. The trial will involve testing the new protective suit against cosmic gamma rays as part of a feasability study for any future mission to Mars.
The AstroRad suit protects mainly bone marrow, the lungs, chest, stomach, colon, and the ovaries among women, organs which are particularly sensitive to the formation of malignant tumors as a result of exposure to radiation. The suit itself is made out of hydrogen-rich materials and worn like a vest.
The suit was developed following the success of the company’s first product – a special belt that protects the bone marrow in the pelvis – which is commonly worn by “first responders” to radiation accidents around the world. StemRad is collaborating with Lockheed Martin to adapt the suit’s technology to space use.
The agreement with NASA follows an agreement signed a year ago between the ISA and the German Space Agency to test the suitability of the suit to the effects of radiation in deep space and the extent of its absorption by the human body.
Source: NoCamels and The Jerusalem Post