Astronauts on the International Space Station don’t have to worry about radiation because of the protection of the earth’s magnetic field, however, future astronauts on missions to Mars will face the issue. Israeli developer, StemRad, has created a vest that enables certain critical areas to be protected from radiation according to Reuters. Called AstroRad, it uses contoured layered areas that are custom designed for the wearer to protect stem cells. In fact, according to StemRad’s site, the majority of stem cells are located in the bone marrow of the hip area, which is why the vest dips down toward the front and rear.
This is the only way to provide meaningful protection while remaining mobile. Competing whole body solutions offer little to no protection from penetrating radiation such as gamma rays as they would have to weigh a quarter of a ton to do so. To supplement this protection, StemRad offers innovative measures to protect the stem cells present in other sensitive tissues.
The vest has already been proven in the lab, but now it’s time to take it for a spin. So, arrangements are being made for Orion’s lunar pass.
During the lunar flyby mission, the vest will be strapped to a “phantom” torso dummy, a device used to monitor radiation absorption. Another phantom will fly unprotected and the two will be analyzed after they return to Earth.
This is an exciting collaboration between StemRad, Lockheed Martin, NASA and the European Space Agency. The vest looks more mobile than the heavy drapes used by the dental and medical industry. I wonder when they will be getting a makeover? While I can’t exactly help with making a radiation protective garment, I can share a cool learning guide on making a Cell Phone Blocking Pocket. Using our stretchy silver plated fabric you can stitch up a protective jacket for your phone—no fuss, no transmitting data behind your back. Have fun exploring DIY shielding.
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