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Technical Paper

Improvement of Risk Assessment from Space Radiation Exposure for Future Space Exploration Missions

Protecting astronauts from space radiation exposure is an important challenge for mission design and operations for future exploration-class and long-duration missions. Crew members are exposed to sporadic solar particle events (SPEs) as well as to the continuous galactic cosmic radiation (GCR). If sufficient protection is not provided the radiation risk to crew members from SPEs could be significant. To improve exposure risk estimates and radiation protection from SPEs, detailed evaluations of radiation shielding properties are required. A model using a modern CAD tool ProE™, which is the leading engineering design platform at NASA, has been developed for this purpose. For the calculation of radiation exposure at a specific site, the cosine distribution was implemented to replicate the omnidirectional characteristic of the 4π particle flux on a surface.
Technical Paper

Weathering of Thermal Control Coatings

Spacecraft radiators reject heat to their surroundings. Radiators can be deployable or mounted on the body of the spacecraft. NASA's Crew Exploration Vehicle is to use body mounted radiators. Coatings play an important role in heat rejection. The coatings provide the radiator surface with the desired optical properties of low solar absorptance and high infrared emittance. These specialized surfaces are applied to the radiator panel in a number of ways, including conventional spraying, plasma spraying, or as an appliqué. Not specifically designed for a weathering environment, little is known about the durability of conventional paints, coatings, and appliqués upon exposure to weathering and subsequent exposure to solar wind and ultraviolet radiation exposure. In addition to maintaining their desired optical properties, the coatings must also continue to adhere to the underlying radiator panel.
Technical Paper

Solar Proton Event Observations at Mars with MARIE

The 2001 Mars Odyssey spacecraft Martian Radiation Environment Experiment (MARIE) is a solid-state silicon telescope high-energy particle detector designed to measure galactic cosmic radiation (GCR) and solar particle events (SPEs) in the 20 – 500 MeV/nucleon energy range. In this paper we discuss the instrument design and focus on the observations and measurements of SPEs at Mars. These are the first-ever SPE measurements at Mars. The measurements are compared with the geostationary GOES satellite SPE measurements. We also discuss some of the current interplanetary particle propagation and diffusion theories and models. The MARIE SPE measurements are compared with these existing models.
Technical Paper

Spacesuit Radiation Shield Design Methods

Meeting radiation protection requirements during EVA is predominantly an operational issue with some potential considerations for temporary shelter. The issue of spacesuit shielding is mainly guided by the potential of accidental exposure when operational and temporary shelter considerations fail to maintain exposures within operational limits. In this case, very high exposure levels are possible which could result in observable health effects and even be life threatening. Under these assumptions, potential spacesuit radiation exposures have been studied using known historical solar particle events to gain insight on the usefulness of modification of spacesuit design in which the control of skin exposure is a critical design issue and reduction of blood forming organ exposure is desirable.
Technical Paper

Rapid Microbial Analysis during Simulated Surface EVA at Meteor Crater: Implications for Human Exploration of the Moon and Mars

Procedures for rapid microbiological analysis were performed during simulated surface extra-vehicular activity (EVA) at Meteor Crater, Arizona. The fully suited operator swabbed rock (‘unknown’ sample), spacesuit glove (contamination control) and air (negative control). Each swab sample was analyzed for lipopolysaccharide (LPS) and β-1, 3-glucan within 10 minutes by the handheld LOCAD PTS instrument, scheduled for flight to ISS on space shuttle STS-116. This simulated a rapid and preliminary ‘life detection’ test (with contamination control) that a human could perform on Mars. Eight techniques were also evaluated for their ability to clean and remove LPS and β-1, 3-glucan from five surface materials of the EVA Mobility Unit (EMU). While chemical/mechanical techniques were effective at cleaning smooth surfaces (e.g. RTV silicon), they were less so with porous fabrics (e.g. TMG gauntlet).
Technical Paper

Methodologies for Critical Body Organ Space Radiation Risk Assessments

One of the risks associated with long-term space flights is cancer incidence resulting from chronic exposure to space radiation. Assessment of incurred risk from radiation exposure requires quantifying the dose throughout the body. The space radiation exposure received by Space Shuttle astronauts is measured by thermoluminescent dosimeters (TLDs) worn during every mission. These dosimeters measure the absorbed dose to the skin, but the dose to internal organs is required for estimating the cancer risk induced by space radiation. A method to extrapolate these skin dose measurements to realistic organ specific dose estimates, using the Computerized Anatomical Man (CAM) and Computerized Anatomical Female (CAF) models, is discussed in detail. A transport code, which propagates high energy nucleon and charged particles, is combined with the CAM/CAF-generated shielding areal distributions to evaluate the absorbed dose at selected organ sites.
Technical Paper

Space Crew Radiation Exposure Analysis System Based on a Commercial Stand-Alone CAD System

Major improvements have recently been completed in the approach to spacecraft shielding analysis. A Computer-Aided Design (CAD)-based system has been developed for determining the shielding provided to any point within or external to the spacecraft. Shielding analysis is performed using a commercially available stand-alone CAD system and a customized ray-tracing subroutine contained within a standard engineering modeling software package. This improved shielding analysis technique has been used in several vehicle design projects such as a Mars transfer habitat, pressurized lunar rover, and the redesigned Space Station. Results of these analyses are provided to demonstrate the applicability and versatility of the system.
Technical Paper

Radiation in Space and its Control of Equilibrium Temperatures in the Solar System

The problem of determining equilibrium temperatures for re-radiating surfaces in space vacuum was analyzed and the resulting mathematical relationships were incorporated in a code to determine space sink temperatures in the solar system. A brief treatment of planetary atmospheres is also included. Temperature values obtained with the code are in good agreement with available spacecraft telemetry and meteorological measurements for Venus and Earth. The code has been used in the design of space power system radiators for future interplanetary missions.
Technical Paper

Freeze Tolerant Radiator for Advanced EMU

The current Extravehicular Mobility Unit (EMU) system provides thermal control using a sublimator to reject both the heat produced by the astronaut's metabolic activity as well as the heat produced by the Portable Life Support Unit (PLSS). This sublimator vents up to eight pounds of water each Extravehicular Activity (EVA). If this load could be radiated to space, the amount of water that would need to be sublimated could be greatly reduced. There is enough surface area on the EMU that almost all of the heat can be rejected by radiation. Radiators, however, reject heat at a relatively constant rate, while the astronaut generates heat at a variable rate. To accommodate this variable heat load, NASA is developing a new freeze tolerant radiator where the tubes can selectively freeze to “turn down” the radiator and adjust to the heat rejection requirement. This radiator design significantly reduces the amount of expendable water needed for the sublimator.
Technical Paper

The Impact of Trace Contaminants on the Shuttle Orbiter Regenerative CO2 Removal System

There is a possibility that trace contaminants in the Shuttle Orbiter cabin atmosphere may chemically react with amine beads found in the Regenerative Carbon Dioxide Removal System and degrade system performance. Two contaminant compounds were exposed to the amine beads, and performance changes were measured. Acetone was tested because it is sometimes found in small but appreciable quantities in the cabin, and it has chemical properties that make it a potential poison. Halon 1301 was tested because it is the fire extinguishant, and a discharge of a Halon canister would trigger high concentrations in the cabin. Acetone was shown to be weakly and reversibly adsorbed. It does not poison the bed, and the RCRS was shown to remove small quantities of acetone. Halon was shown to be inert to the amine. It does not poison the RCRS, and is not removed by the RCRS.