The MARE space radiation experiment on the Artemis I mission

Re­turn to the Moon with Artemis I

Orion's journey to the moon
Ori­on's jour­ney to the moon
Image 1/6, Credit: German Space Agency at DLR

Orion's journey to the moon

On its first jour­ney to the Moon, Ori­on - pow­ered by ESM-1 Bre­men - trav­els to the Moon un­crewed. The space­craft must or­bit the Earth's satel­lite sev­er­al times and then re­turn to Earth. On­ly on the sec­ond mis­sion will as­tro­nauts trav­el in the cap­sule to the Moon and or­bit it. Un­der the Artemis pro­gramme, NASA aims to land a wom­an on the Moon for a first time by 2024.
NASA's Artemis I mission
NASA's Artemis I mis­sion
Image 2/6, Credit: NASA

NASA's Artemis I mission

The first mis­sion for NASA’s Ori­on will send the space­craft be­yond the Moon and back. Artemis I will be un­crewed
Assembling the Helga mannequin
As­sem­bling the Hel­ga man­nequin
Image 3/6, Credit: © DLR. All rights reserved

Assembling the Helga mannequin

For the MARE ex­per­i­ment, the ra­di­a­tion mea­sur­ing man­nequin Hel­ga will fly with its ‘twin sis­ter’ Zo­har to the Moon and back for ra­di­a­tion mea­sure­ment and eval­u­a­tion of the As­tro­Rad ra­di­a­tion pro­tec­tion vest on board NASA's Ori­on space­craft. The two dum­mies, called phan­toms, each con­sist of 38 discs and are 95 cen­time­tres tall. In­side them are or­gans and bones made of plas­tic of vary­ing den­si­ty. There and on the sur­face, each phan­tom has over 6000 pas­sive ra­di­a­tion de­tec­tors com­pris­ing small crys­tals and a to­tal of 16 ac­tive de­tec­tors (M-42) from DLR in­stalled on the body's most ra­di­a­tion-sen­si­tive or­gans – lungs, stom­ach, uterus and bone mar­row.
Zohar with vest in her seat
Zo­har with vest in her seat
Image 4/6, Credit: DLR (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0)

Zohar with vest in her seat

For the MARE ex­per­i­ment, the ra­di­a­tion mea­sur­ing man­nequin Hel­ga will fly with its ‘twin sis­ter’ Zo­har to the Moon and back for ra­di­a­tion mea­sure­ment and eval­u­a­tion of the As­tro­Rad ra­di­a­tion pro­tec­tion vest on board NASA's Ori­on space­craft. The two dum­mies, called phan­toms, each con­sist of 38 discs and are 95 cen­time­tres tall. In­side them are or­gans and bones made of plas­tic of vary­ing den­si­ty. There and on the sur­face, each phan­tom has over 6000 pas­sive ra­di­a­tion de­tec­tors com­pris­ing small crys­tals and a to­tal of 16 ac­tive de­tec­tors (M-42) from DLR in­stalled on the body's most ra­di­a­tion-sen­si­tive or­gans – lungs, stom­ach, uterus and bone mar­row.
The radiation measuring manikin Helga in individual parts
The ra­di­a­tion mea­sur­ing manikin Hel­ga in in­di­vid­u­al parts
Image 5/6, Credit: DLR (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0)

The radiation measuring manikin Helga in individual parts

The Ma­trosh­ka As­tro­Rad Ra­di­a­tion Ex­per­i­ment (MARE) will fly to the Moon on NASA's Artemis I mis­sion. The ex­per­i­ment will in­ves­ti­gate ra­di­a­tion ex­po­sure through­out the en­tire flight to Earth’s nat­u­ral satel­lite us­ing two iden­ti­cal ‘phan­toms’. Each of the man­nequins con­sists of 38 discs, mea­sures 95 cen­time­tres and con­tains or­gans and bones made of plas­tic of vary­ing den­si­ty. More than 6000 pas­sive dosime­ters con­sist­ing of small crys­tals are in­stalled at these lo­ca­tions and on the sur­face. In ad­di­tion, 16 ac­tive de­tec­tors are in­te­grat­ed in­to the most ra­di­a­tion-sen­si­tive or­gans of the body – lungs, stom­ach, uterus and bone mar­row.
NASA's SLS rocket
NASA's SLS rock­et
Image 6/6, Credit: ©NASA

NASA's SLS rocket

The new Space Launch Sys­tem (SLS) launch ver­hi­cle on Kennedy Space Cen­ter's launch pad 39B.

It has been almost 50 years since astronauts last set foot on the Moon (Apollo 17, December 1972). That is set to change before the end of this decade with NASA's Artemis programme planning to once again land humans on Earth's natural satellite. This time, the mission will also include the first woman to travel to the Moon. But that is not all; a permanent base camp is to be established on the Moon in collaboration with international partners. Together with the Lunar Gateway, an orbiting space station that will serve both for research and as a 'transfer station' between spacecraft and the lunar surface, the next 'big step for humankind' is underway. This first crewed mission to Mars will be flown by both female and male astronauts.

For this massive undertaking, NASA is developing a new rocket, the Space Launch System (SLS). It will be able to transport a spacecraft, astronauts and cargo to the Moon at the same time. The Orion spacecraft, which can carry a crew of four, has also been designed for missions to the Moon.

Artemis I is the first of a series of missions in NASA’s Artemis programme. Artemis I is the first step on this path. On this uncrewed mission, all the newly developed systems will be tested regarding the interaction between the Orion spacecraft, the Space Launch System (SLS) and the ground systems.ist die erste in einer Reihe von Missionen des Artemis-Programms der NASA. Artemis II will carry a crew of four and orbit the Moon. Artemis III is set to land humans on the Moon again.

ESM – German technology propels missions to the Moon

A vital element of the Orion spacecraft is the European Service Module (ESM), which is being built to a large extent in Germany by the European Space Agency (ESA) on behalf of NASA. It contains the main engine and provides electricity using four solar sails. It also regulates the climate and temperature in the spacecraft and stores fuel, oxygen and water supplies for the crew. The Orion spacecraft, and with it the ESM, is considered a key milestone for future crewed exploration missions to the Moon, but also to Mars and beyond. The Artemis collaboration is the first time NASA has relied on partners from other nations for a critical component of astronautical missions – a tremendous vote of confidence in the capabilities of spacefaring nations in Europe. Under the industrial leadership of Airbus Defence and Space in Bremen, a European industrial consortium involving 10 countries has realised the first ESM-1 flight unit. Fittingly, ESM-1 bears the name of the Hanseatic city.

With Artemis, NASA is collaborating with international partners on a critical component of an astronautical mission for the first time. This is a significant vote of confidence in the performance of spacefaring European nations. A European industry consortium, led by Airbus in Bremen and spread across 10 countries, has now implemented the first ESM-1 flight unit. ESM-1 bears the name of the Hanseatic city from which it originates – 'Bremen'. To date, NASA has ordered six European service modules as part of its Artemis programme.

Germany is the primary European partner of the other spacefaring nations involved in the ISS (USA, Russia, Japan and Canada) and was a major supporter of the decision to build the ESM at the ESA Council at Ministerial Level in Naples in 2012. Germany provides approximately 50 percent of the ESM programme budget, with the country's share managed by the German Space Agency at DLR.

MARE – Radiation exposure on a journey to the Moon

The first Artemis mission will take place without a flesh-and-blood crew. However, the flight to the Moon and back, which will last a maximum of 42 days, will not be entirely 'uncrewed'. There will be two female 'phantoms' on board – Helga and Zohar. These research mannequins are equipped with special radiation detectors that replicate the female torso, including its reproductive organs, to enable measurements of the radiation dose received by organs that are particularly sensitive to radiation. The Matroshka AstroRad Radiation Experiment (MARE), led by the DLR Institute of Aerospace Medicine, is researching the radiation exposure of future Artemis crews.

MARE will also be the first to measure the radiation exposure to the female body beyond the orbit of the International Space Station ISS. The female body is more sensitive to the effects of ionising radiation than the male body. It is therefore important to develop protective measures for the crews of future long-term missions based on this data. Zohar, contributed by the Israel Space Agency, will fly to the Moon with a protective vest (AstroRad) made by the Israeli company StemRad, while Helga will fly without any protection. In this way, the identical models will collect comparable data sets. A total of more than 6000 passive measurement sensors are placed both on the surface of and inside the 'phantoms'. After the flight around the Moon, the radiation values measured by both models will be compared in order to evaluate the effectiveness of the AstroRad protective vest.

For the first time, MARE will also continuously collect measurement data that can be used to determine the radiation exposure inside the spacecraft at specific times during the flight to the Moon. This will be achieved using, among other things, 16 radiation measuring instruments developed by DLR – the DLR M-42.

During the Artemis I mission, the Orion spacecraft will travel almost 500,000 kilometres from Earth – further than any crewed spacecraft has ever flown. These are the best conditions for collecting a lot of data with the help of the test mannequins, which will make similar journeys safe for future human crews.

Contact
  • Elke Heinemann
    Ger­man Aerospace Cen­ter (DLR)

    Com­mu­ni­ca­tions and Me­dia Re­la­tions
    Telephone: +49 2203 601-2867
    Linder Höhe
    51147 Cologne
    Contact
  • Thomas Berger
    Ra­di­a­tion Bi­ol­o­gy
    Ger­man Aerospace Cen­ter (DLR)
    In­sti­tute of Aerospace Medicine
    Linder Höhe
    51147 Cologne
    Contact

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