The MARE cos­mic ra­di­a­tion ex­per­i­ment on board Artemis I

The ‘crew’ of the Artemis I mission to the Moon
The ‘crew’ of the Artemis I mis­sion to the Moon
Image 1/12, Credit: NASA/Lockheed Martin/DLR

The ‘crew’ of the Artemis I mission to the Moon

The two ‘phan­toms’ of the Ma­trosh­ka As­tro­Rad Ra­di­a­tion Ex­per­i­ment (MARE), which will fly to the Moon on NASA's first Artemis I mis­sion, oc­cu­py two of pas­sen­ger seats (Seat #3 and Seat #4) in the Ori­on cap­sule.
MARE: Track­ing ra­di­a­tion ex­po­sure on the way to the Moon
Video 2/12, Credit: © DLR. All rights reserved
Helga and Zohar on the flight deck of the Orion spacecraft
Hel­ga and Zo­har on the flight deck of the Ori­on space­craft
Image 3/12, Credit: NASA/LM/DLR

Helga and Zohar on the flight deck of the Orion spacecraft

The two DLR ra­di­a­tion mea­sure­ment man­nequins Hel­ga and Zo­har are now ready for their flight to the Moon and back.
On the way to the Moon
On the way to the Moon
Image 4/12, Credit: ©NASA, composition image: DLR

On the way to the Moon

The Ori­on space­craft will or­bit the Moon sev­er­al times be­fore re­turn­ing to Earth.
Assembling the Helga mannequin
As­sem­bling the Hel­ga man­nequin
Image 5/12, 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 6/12, 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.
Active radiation detector M-42
Ac­tive ra­di­a­tion de­tec­tor M-42
Image 7/12, Credit: DLR (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0)

Active radiation detector M-42

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.
Assembly of Helga
As­sem­bly of Hel­ga
Image 8/12, Credit: DLR (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0)

Assembly of Helga

The DLR phan­tom Hel­ga is made up of 38 lay­ers with ap­prox­i­mate­ly 1400 lo­ca­tions for ra­di­a­tion de­tec­tors.
Helga's structure
Hel­ga's struc­ture
Image 9/12, Credit: © DLR

Helga's structure

Bar­tos Przy­by­la (left) and MARE PI Thomas Berg­er (right) mount­ing Hel­ga's head.
MARE logo
MARE lo­go
Image 10/12, Credit: DLR

MARE logo

MARE lo­go.
As­sem­bling the Hel­ga man­nequin
Video 11/12, Credit: DLR (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0)

Assembling the Helga mannequin

Length: 00:00:11
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.
As­sem­bling the Zo­har man­nequin
Video 12/12, Credit: DLR (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0)

Assembling the Zohar mannequin

Length: 00:00:28
For the MARE ex­per­i­ment, the ra­di­a­tion mea­sur­ing man­nequin Zo­har will fly with its 'twin sis­ter' Hel­ga 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.

Outside Earth's protective magnetic field, radiation exposure is very high for humans. It poses a considerable health risk for future crews on long-term missions to the Moon and Mars. That is why it is crucial to determine this exposure more precisely and to develop measures to protect astronauts. The Matroshka AstroRad Radiation Experiment (MARE) uses two identical mannequins, which will fly to the Moon on board NASA's Artemis I mission, to investigate radiation exposure during the entire flight. The twin test mannequins are modelled on female physiology. One of them – Helga – will fly to the Moon unprotected; the other – Zohar – will wear a newly developed radiation protection vest. The vest covers the upper body, the uterus and the blood-forming organs. By comparing the two sets of data, it will be possible to determine the extent to which the vest would protect a female astronaut from harmful radiation exposure.

The twin test mannequins are modelled on female physiology. One of them – Helga – will fly to the Moon unprotected; the other – Zohar – will wear a newly developed radiation protection vest. The vest covers the upper body, the uterus and the blood-forming organs. By comparing the two sets of data, it will be possible to determine the extent to which the vest would protect a female astronaut from harmful radiation exposure.

Helga and Zohar – two phantom astronauts measure radiation exposure on a journey to the Moon

The two 'phantoms' each consist of 38 discs are 95 centimetres tall and weigh 36 kilograms. Zohar weighs 62 kilograms with the protective vest. Inside them are organs and bones made of plastics of varying density. More than 6000 passive radiation detectors made of small crystals are installed there and on the surface, and 16 active detectors on the body's most radiation-sensitive organs – lungs, stomach, uterus and bone marrow. The passive radiation measuring devices (dosimeters) measure continuously and thus provide a value of the radiation over the entire mission duration. By retrieving the information from the crystals, a three-dimensional image of the human body can be created, which shows how high the total radiation exposure is on bones and organs in different places during a flight to the Moon and back.

The active, battery-operated detectors also record the current radiation exposure with a temporal resolution of five minutes. This will allow the scientists to understand how radiation exposure affects the body parts under different conditions and mission phases.

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.

Measuring cosmic radiation on the ISS

The radiation levels to which the male and female astronauts on board the ISS are exposed have been studied for years at the DLR Institute of Aerospace Medicine. In 2004, a 'male' mannequin (Matroshka) was attached to the exterior of the ISS for one and a half years to determine how high the radiation exposure is during extravehicular activities. It was later used to measure cosmic radiation inside various modules of the ISS. The DLR experiment DOSIS 3D has been measuring radiation in the Columbus laboratory since 2012. The results are being used to create a 3D model of radiation exposure on the International Space Station.

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.

MARE – the most extensive radiation exposure experiment to leave low-Earth orbit

The MARE experiment is led by DLR. The main project partners are the Israeli Space Agency (ISA), the Israeli company StemRad, which developed the AstroRad protective vest, Lockheed Martin and NASA. Due to its complexity and the scale of international collaboration with many different universities and research institutions in Europe, Japan and the USA, MARE is the largest experiment designed to determine radiation exposure for astronauts that has ever flown beyond low-Earth orbit. The measurements during Artemis I will provide fundamental data for assessing the radiation risk and enabling safe human exploration of space.

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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