MARE Fit Check at NASA, JSC, Houston, USA © DLR
Space radiation is a major health risk for humans and thus a decisive factor for planned long-term human space missions in the future. With the MARE experiment (Matroshka AstroRad Radiation Experiment), DLR and other partners are now making a major contribution to determining this radiation risk and developing protective measures. On the NASA Artemis I mission, the MARE experiment will for the first time fly two female phantoms to determine the radiation risk on its way to the Moon. Both phantoms will be equipped with radiation detectors and one will wear a radiation protection vest. Both are modelled on humans, so that the radiation dose can be measured in the particularly radiation-sensitive organs.
As part of the Artemis I mission, Helga and Zohar, the two phantoms, will fly in the passenger seats of Orion during its first flight to the Moon. Zohar will wear a newly developed radiation protection vest (AstroRad) from the Israeli partner StemRad. The phantoms will fly on behalf of two female astronauts. They are being equipped with radiation sensors at the DLR Institute of Aerospace Medicine in Cologne. For the first time, this will enable the astronauts to measure with a high degree of accuracy the radiation exposure they will experience during a manned flight to the Moon.
Built up of the anthropomorphic phantoms (Manufacturer: CIRS, Norfolk, USA www.cirsinc.com) © DLR
The 95-centimetre female phantoms are built up with organs and bones made of tissue equivalent plastic of different densities. DLR is currently developing, building and testing the radiation detectors, which will later be installed in Helga and Zohar. A total of 1400 sensor positions will be mounted with small passive radiation detectors consisting of crystals, and the sensors of the active detectors will also be integrated into the most radiation-sensitive organs of the body - lungs, stomach, uterus and bone marrow. While the passive detectors will measure continuously from start to return to Earth and record the total exposure, the active, battery-operated detectors will be switched on during the start and record the temporal variation of the radiation exposure. After the return, the data of the different detectors can be selected and evaluated.
The data from the phantom Helga, which will fly without a protective vest, will also be used to determine the effectiveness of the newly developed radiation protection vest (AstroRad) developed by StemRad, an industrial partner sponsored by the Israeli space agency ISA. Helga and Zohar will go through several tests before their flight to the Moon and back, which will last up to 42 days.
In its complexity and in its international cooperation with numerous universities and research institutions in Austria, Belgium, Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Greece, Switzerland, Japan and the USA, MARE represents the largest experiment ever to determine the radiation exposure of astronauts beyond low Earth orbit. It provides basic data for estimating the radiation risk for future manned flights to the Moon.
Project partner (main partner)
Israel Space Agency (ISA)
Lockheed Martin Space (LM)
National Aeronautics and
Space Administration (NASA)
MARE - Factsheet
MARE – LOGO
Wie hoch ist die Strahlung bei einem Flug zum Mond? (Quarks/WDR)
Gefährliche Rückkehr zum Mond (heute journal/ZDF)
Strahlenrisiko für Astronauten? (Wissen/nano/3sat)
RADIATION SCIENCE FOR ORION (ESA BLOG)
THE RADIATION FACTOR (ESA BLOG)
SHIELDING ASTRONAUTS FROM SPACE RADIATION ON THE WAY TO THE MOON (ESA BLOG)
Orion “Passengers” on Artemis I to Test Radiation Vest for Deep Space Missions