Theme 2

New Materials and Applications for Improved Crew Safety During Human Exploration of Distant Surfaces


Picture Showing Spacesuit Development

Human exploration missions beyond near Earth orbit cannot occur without a validated approach to addressing astronaut health risks due to radiation. This requires characterization of the space radiation environment, experimental validation of radiation production methodologies, and the ability to predict and monitor the radiation absorbed by astronauts on a real-time and mission-integrated basis. As of 2016, the deep space radiation environment is reasonably characterized, but radiation protection materials for human habits and spacesuits have not been fully developed and characterized, and real-time radiation monitors are in their infancy. For example, incorporate dosimeters into space suits, and developing strong, flexible and radiation protective material.

This theme investigates:
  • Development of Polymer-Graphene Nanocomposites as Lightweight Materials for Spacesuits
  • Development of Polymer-Graphene Nanocomposites and Regolith Grains as Shielding Material
  • Development of New Materials for Portable Real-Time Radiation Dosimetry
  • Integration of New Materials and Active Dosimetry for EVA and Surface Exploration Concepts
This theme is designed to assess and mitigate human radiation risks by:
  • Developing, characterizing and testing novel composite materials for superior mechanical (strength and flexibility), thermal and electrical properties.
  • Testing regolith incorporated in these composites as a potential shielding material.
  • Developing real time low weight and low power consumption radiation monitoring devices using graphene and other 2D materials.
  • Considering the best of the new polymer composites as candidates for integration into EVA spacesuits and surface-mobility vehicles.