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Background: As future crewed, deep space missions are being planned, it is important to assess how spacecraft design can be used to minimize radiation exposure. Collectively with shielding material, vehicle shape and astronaut position must be used to protect astronauts from the two primary sources of space radiation: Galactic Cosmic Rays (GCRs) and Solar Particle Events (SPEs).

Methods: The On-Line Tool for the Assessment of Radiation in Space (OLTARIS) version 4.1 analysis package is used to evaluate and analyze this detailed radiation field. Developed by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration's (NASA) Langley Research Center, the tool enables engineering and research related space radiation calculations. Each configuration is evaluated in whole body effective dose equivalent (ED). This research evaluates 70 aerospace materials, 2 vehicle shapes and 3 astronaut positions.

Results and Conclusions: The material analyses show that for metals, aluminum outperforms and therefore is the most feasible metal for deep space travel. But when evaluating all materials, polyethylene outperforms all feasible aerospace materials.

The vehicle shape and astronaut position analyses show that moving a human phantom closer to a wall does significantly decrease the ED. This pattern is not dependent on material nor boundary condition, but the mean shielding thickness a source ray must travel through for the GCR boundary condition. For shielding thicknesses greater than 30 g/cm 2 for polyethylene and 100g/cm 2 for aluminum, the results suggest that having astronauts’ habitats and work areas located further from the center will help protect astronauts longer from deep space radiation.

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Engineering | Mechanical Engineering

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VCU Graduate Research Posters

Evaluating the Effectiveness of Shielding Material, Vehicle Shape and Astronaut Position for Deep Space Travel