MARE – Ra­di­a­tion ex­po­sure on a jour­ney to the Moon

The ‘crew’ of the Artemis 1 mission to the Moon
The ‘crew’ of the Artemis 1 mis­sion to the Moon
Image 1/6, Credit: NASA/Lockheed Martin/DLR

The ‘crew’ of the Artemis 1 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 logo
MARE lo­go
Image 2/6, Credit: DLR

MARE logo

MARE lo­go.
Measuring mannequin Helga
Mea­sur­ing man­nequin Hel­ga
Image 3/6, Credit: DLR (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0)

Measuring mannequin Helga

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.
NASA's Artemis I mission
NASA's Artemis I mis­sion
Image 5/6, 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
Orion at Kennedy Space Center
Ori­on at Kennedy Space Cen­ter
Image 6/6, Credit: NASA/Radislav Sinyak

Orion at Kennedy Space Center

When the Unit­ed States sends its first, ini­tial­ly un­manned Ori­on space­craft in­to or­bit around Earth's nat­u­ral satel­lite in spring 2022 in prepa­ra­tion for fu­ture as­tro­nau­ti­cal mis­sions, it will be pow­ered by Ger­man tech­nol­o­gy. Ori­on is cur­rent­ly be­ing pre­pared for its first voy­age with this propul­sion and sup­ply unit – the so-called Eu­ro­pean Ser­vice Mod­ule (ESM) – at Kennedy Space Cen­ter in Flori­da.

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 German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) is leading the experiment. The main project partners are the Israel Space Agency (ISA), the Israeli industrial partner StemRad, which developed the AstroRad protective vest, Lockheed Martin and NASA. MARE, in its complexity and in its international collaboration with numerous universities and research institutions from Europe, Japan and the USA, represents the most extensive experiment to determine radiation exposure for astronauts to leave low-Earth orbit. The measurements made during Artemis I will provide valuable risk assessment and mitigation data for future exploration missions and enable safe human exploration of space.

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