A vest designed to shield astronauts from deadly solar particles in deep space is set for trials on a lunar mission ready for deployment on any manned mission to Mars, its Israeli developers said.
The AstroRad Radiation Shield has been devised by Tel Aviv-based StemRad, which has already produced and marketed a belt to protect rescue workers from harmful gamma ray radiation emitted in nuclear disasters, such as Chernobyl and Fukushima.
The vest will protect vital human tissue, particularly stem cells, which could be devastated by solar radiation in deep space or on Mars, whose sparse atmosphere offers no protection, StemRad's CEO Oren Milstein said.
StemRad says it has proven the concept in the laboratory and in simulations, but testing will also take place on the Orion spacecraft, a joint project of Lockheed Martin, NASA and the European Space Agency.
Orion is set to orbit the moon unmanned during the debut flight of NASA's heavy-lift Space Launch System rocket, scheduled for late 2018 but it is also assessing the feasibility of flying two astronauts on that mission.