(ORDO NEWS) — While bad weather and technical issues have forced NASA to delay its August and September launch attempts for the Artemis I mission, the space agency is targeting a launch in the second half of November 2022. The planned launch date is November 16th.
The Artemis I mission is the first step in NASA’s plans to get human crews to the moon. The ship will have two dummies strapped to the crew module.
They are part of a project run by the Duke University bioengineering team with support from the National Institute for Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering.
The health risk posed by space radiation is one of the challenges humans face in space exploration.
The physical phantoms were manufactured by a commercial supplier and were originally intended for use in medical imaging testing or radiological practice.
For the space mission, each dummy was equipped with sensors to measure the accumulated radiation that astronauts would receive during space flight.
The phantoms on the ship will be female. The researchers have already performed several irradiation experiments with a male phantom previously aboard the ISS.
More than a thousand sensors are built into each phantom, which will collect readings for each of the organs.
This experiment uses female phantoms because the female anatomy is more sensitive to radiation exposure than the male one, and exposure estimates for male astronauts can be derived from female phantom data.
For the duration of the test flight, the researchers equipped a phantom, which they called the Zohar, a vest that would have to protect the body from radiation. Another phantom, Helga, was left unprotected.
According to scientists, when we are exposed to radiation, damage is deposited directly in the organs, and different organs have different levels of radiosensitivity.
For example, breast tissue is more radiosensitive than muscle. And the brain is less radiosensitive than the heart. Therefore, it is important for research to understand which organ is exposed to radiation.
The phantoms Zohar and Helga weigh about the same as human astronauts. The dummies are specially made so that only lungs and bones can be identified on them.
For the rest of the organs, Duke’s team created a special virtual map.
According to scientists, GPS provides virtual identification of organs, informing about the sensors that need to be measured in order to determine the dose of radiation received by a particular organ.
NASA will use radiation dosage information to better understand the risks, and to develop possible protective measures for space travel or long stays on the Moon.
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