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Human Research Program

Lunar EVA Dosimetry: Microdosimeter-Dosimeter Instrument

Completed Technology Project

Project Introduction

The overall objective of this research project is to design, develop, and test an engineering model solid-state microdosimeter (SSMD) by December 2012 suitable for use in the new NASA spacesuit and robotic operation on rovers, tool boxes, and spacecraft. The benchtop instrument continues to be used to develop and investigate improvements to the state-of-the-art of SSMDs. This past year the focus has been on development of improved preamplifiers. Radiation sources available at the USNA have been used to carry out the test protocols. The benchtop system has been expanded to obtain and analyze microdosimetric spectra for incident NSRL beams of both protons and heavy ions with identification of particle types in the beam, their energies, and their mass-to-charge ratios and those produced by intervening materials. We carried out tests of our bench-top system with a neutron beam generated in the Nucleonics Laboratory at the USNA with favorable results. An improved version of the flight engineering model, MIDN-III, has been designed and is nearing completion. It has a reduced footprint and mass and expanded remote command capability. It will be available for test by the end of 2010. We processed data sets obtained at the NSRL/BNL from our benchtop system, flight engineering model MIDN-II, and two Far West HAWK tissue equivalent proportional counters. Inter-comparisons of the observations agreed well and also agreed with Geant4 simulations. These spectra have been added to our past data sets to update our extensive library of microdosimetric spectra. We continued development our unique optical calibration system for a SSMD that permits continual end-to-end system test and calibration while the instrument is operational deployed. This is an alternative to using a radiation source that is problematic in a personal dosimeter and eliminates handling and shipping restrictions and personnel and facility certifications required by international, federal, and local regulations. Our provisional patent application was superseded by a patent application in Sep 2010. We have tested our second generation microdosimeter sensors with our bench-top and flight engineering instruments and compared our results favorably with those obtained at the University of Wollongong. We received a sample of our third generation solid-state microdosimeter sensors in November and will begin testing at the beginning of the year. We completed an initial conceptual design of our instrument to fit within a NanoRacks configuration for deployment on the International Space Station through the auspices of the DoD Space Test Program. The NanoRacks configuration is modeled after the design of a cubesat. Our configuration would be 10cm x 10cm x 15cm with the majority of the volume dedicated to a rechargeable battery power supply. [Ed. note 2/29/2012: PI Vincent Pisacane retired and end date changed to 9/30/2011; James Ziegler is new PI effective 10/1/2011 and project continues through 3/31/2013, per NSBRI. See Ziegler for FY2012 and later reports]

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This is a historic project that was completed before the creation of TechPort on October 1, 2012. Available data has been included. This record may contain less data than currently active projects.

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