This project provides a better alternative to continue along the path for improved multi-functional light-weight Mg alloys. The new metal alloy will improve both NASA Safety and Mission Assurance by offering better protection for the astronauts as well as improving shielding effectiveness of both critical and non-critical electronic systems. For both human and electronic scenarios, the new Mg alloy will improve the margin and overall risk associated with each of these scenarios by improving the shielding performance and provides a reduction in the likelihood of occurrence as well as respective consequence. Specific NASA deployment includes deep space mobile (as well as ISS) habitats, crew spacecraft (Organically and Commercial Crew developed), Mars/Moon fixed habitats, unmanned spacecraft, and launch vehicle/propulsion systems. Such changes may make a manned mission to Mars more feasible. The Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) Cosmic Ray Telescope for the Effects of Radiation (CRaTER) study showed that in interplanetary space the time to a 3% risk of exposure-induced death (REID), the NASA career cancer risk limit would be reached in under 400 days for a 30-year old male and under 300 days for a 30-year old female. The LRO study assumed a thin aluminum alloy layer under the shielding that was tested. If the aluminum were changed to Mg alloys used in this project, it is possible that those calculations could be extended.
This project models and developed multi-functional lightweight Mg alloys, with optimal thickness and chemistry for increasing strength and absorbing neutrons. With the recent approval by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for Mg use in commercial airliner seats (i.e., nonstructural applications), widespread adoption of Mg would allow for high-efficiency aircraft, which could be transformational for the transportation sector. The doped Mg materials that were investigated in this project could be used for reducing the atmospheric radiation exposure of commercial flight crews and passengers on terrestrial polar flights where exposure to radiation has been shown to be significantly higher than on other routes.