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Radiation Shielding Using Thermally Insulating Spheres, Phase I

Completed Technology Project

Project Introduction

Radiation Shielding Using Thermally Insulating Spheres, Phase I
The design of future habitation structures and exploration vehicles will require a higher level of crew protection from dangerous solar particle events (SPE) and galactic cosmic rays (GCR) than is currently provided for operations in low Earth orbit (LEO). The incorporation of radiation shielding technology into sub-system elements will be crucial to the success of future designs. One area where radiation shielding may be incorporated is in thermal insulation materials. The design of habitation structures and exploration vehicles will require extensive thermal protection. Combining the roles of radiation shielding and thermal insulation may be possible by using millimeter sized spheres in place of multi-layer insulation (MLI). By manufacturing the spheres from materials known to provide radiation shielding, the complexity of a vehicle or habitation structure can be reduced. An additional benefit of using spheres as insulation is the ability to operate in a weak vacuum such as the Mars atmosphere. Thus, a sphere insulation design could also be used in the ultra-low pressure gas environment of Mars. This project will involve the research and evaluation of materials most suitable for radiation shielding and thermal performance evaluation testing of multiple sample sizes in both vacuum and low pressure gas environments. More »

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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.