Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Working on the Moon? Pack a Blanket

"Giant Moon Blanket Could Protect Astronauts"
Space.com (May 26, 2009)

"Solar flares and powerful cosmic rays can shred DNA and increase cancer risks for future astronauts who might make long-term stays on future moon missions.

"As NASA considers this issue in its plans for a return the moon by 2020, a team of college students has proposed a solution: giant blankets.

"Engineering students at North Carolina State University (NCSU) designed a 'lunar texshield,' a layered blanket made of lightweight polymer material. The outer surface of the shield is a flexible array of solar cells that generate electricity. Underneath, a layer of radiation shielding deflects or absorbs incoming particles, to better protect astronauts in lunar outposts...."

Looks like NASA is serious about getting back to the moon. The article is a pretty good overview of the sort of planning it takes to develop technologies that will help people work on the moon - and be practical enough to carry along.

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