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Israel’s StemRad gears up for major demo of anti-radiation suit on NASA’s Artemis I

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Israeli company StemRad, a developer of radiation protection suits for space explorers, emergency responders, defense forces, nuclear industry workers, and medical personnel, is preparing for a major demonstration of its technology as part of NASA’s Artemis I mission later this month.

NASA’s Artemis program, first unveiled in 2017, aims to land astronauts on the lunar surface in the next few years and establish a long-term human presence on the Moon as a warm-up for future missions to Mars. Israel officially signed onto the Artemis program in January.

The Artemis I mission, set for August 29, will be the first uncrewed test flight of NASA’s new Space Launch System (SLS) rocket and the Orion Spacecraft, which will eventually carry astronauts from Earth to lunar orbit and back. Artemis II, scheduled for 2024, will be the first crewed flight of the SLS and the Orion. Artemis III is planned as the first crewed mission to land on the Moon in 2025 and the first crewed flight of the Starship HLS (Human Landing System) lander, under development by Elon Musk’s SpaceX.

As part of the uncrewed Artemis I mission, StemRad will assess the protective qualities of the AstroRad, an anti-radiation suit co-developed with Lockheed Martin to protect vital organs from harmful gamma radiation, on human analogs (or mannequins) aboard the Orion.

The humanoid stand-ins, called “anthropometric radiation phantoms,” are provided by the German Aerospace Center (DLR), a partner to a study of the AstroRad’s performance in space. Dubbed the Matroshka AstroRad Radiation Experiment (MARE), the study will provide a comparative analysis of two female phantoms — one called Zohar, which will wear the AstroRad, and its unprotected counterpart, Helga.

The phantoms (called matroshkas in space contexts), are made of materials that mimic human bones, soft tissues, and organs in female bodies, and contain thousands of radiation detectors that will provide researchers with a high-resolution map of radiation dose deposition in humans.

The study will represent the first time that radiation penetration into the human body will be measured in deep space.

The experiment is years in the making and a big moment for StemRad, which first signed on to be part of the mission in 2018.

StemRad CEO and chief scientific officer Dr. Oren Milstein told The Times of Israel on Sunday that he “had doubts it would happen, there were moments of anxiety, but we are now close to the finish line.”

Speaking from Tampa, Florida, where he is now based to develop the market........

© The Times of Israel

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