NASA selects five proposals for future radiation protection

The entries detail new ways to protect crews from galactic cosmic rays.
By Andrew McDonald | Apr 17, 2015
According to a NASA statement, the agency has selected five proposals, out of 136 entries, to advance to the next stage in a challenge to develop new means of protecting humans against radiation during deep-space missions. The five winners have been granted a total of $12,000. In the next phase of the challenge, the award increases to $30,000; this competition is open from April 29 through June 29.

The first place prize of $5,000 went to George Hitt of Khalifa University in the United Arab Emirates, for his innovative idea of a reusable radiation shield that would be placed in orbit of Mars. Second place, an award of $3,000, went to Ian Gallon, a retired electro-magnetics researcher in Bridport, England; Gallon figured out the math behind how an effective radiation shield could work.

The third place prize of $2,000 went to Olivier Loido, a freelance engineer in Toulouse, France, who came up with a launch configuration and means of deployment for an array of magnets. The two fourth place prizes of $1,000 each when to Markus Novak, a recent graduate of Ohio State University, for his simulations of particle trajectories and creation of safe areas, and to Mikhail Petrichenkov of Russia, who proposed ways to build upon advances made by NASA's Storm Shelter initiative.

The high-energy radiation of galactic cosmic rays are a danger to humans who venture beyond Earth's atmosphere and magnetic field in the course of deep-space missions, such as a manned foray to Mars. Such a journey would require the crew to be protected from the harmful radiation for around 500 days.

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