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Engineering Materials
Slideshow: Plastic Can Protect Astronauts
7/16/2013

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The Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO), shown here in an artist's conception, is currently orbiting the moon, carrying an instrument that's shown plastic can help protect astronauts from cosmic radiation. That instrument, the Cosmic Ray Telescope for the Effects of Radiation (CRaTER), can be seen at the bottom left corner of the spacecraft.   (Source: Chris Meaney/NASA)
The Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO), shown here in an artist's conception, is currently orbiting the moon, carrying an instrument that's shown plastic can help protect astronauts from cosmic radiation. That instrument, the Cosmic Ray Telescope for the Effects of Radiation (CRaTER), can be seen at the bottom left corner of the spacecraft.
(Source: Chris Meaney/NASA)

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NadineJ
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Re: Sci-Fi solutions
NadineJ   7/22/2013 5:18:34 PM
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@Ces2m5 - thanks for the information.  From my understanding the source of the leak is still unknown and it hasn't been determined that it came from the helmet.  But, the most likely source is the cooling system that runs throughout the suit.

My question came to mind as I read greg's comments.  It seems right to put it out there to continue the overall conversation. 

Ces2m5
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Iron
Re: Sci-Fi solutions
Ces2m5   7/21/2013 7:28:02 PM
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Nadine, first there is a matter of determining the cause of water filling or leaking into a space helmet. Since it [helmet] was made in Russia we may never know the root cause; faulty connection or a connection not correctly made, pre-existing condition related to a cause and affect not foreseen. So let's not jump to conclusions on the helmet mishap.

However, the topic of discussion was how to use a thermo-plastic as an outer skin cladded with aluminum to prevent cosmic bombardment of space crafts thereby protecting the health of astronauts or humans in space within these space craft or vessels. Past research it was found that cosmic radiation would put micro-holes in exposed space craft skin, Aluminum. The cosmic radiation is high energy particles/matter from the Sun and  the ionisphere that has high energy particles moving at light and sublight speeds fast enough to create spiked holes in the outter skin of the space craft [space station,shuttle etc., passing intothe spaces where humans are living. This exposes the human body to cosmic radiation that directly affect human tissue causing it to become cancerous.

NadineJ
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Re: Sci-Fi solutions
NadineJ   7/21/2013 6:02:58 PM
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Based on the recent accident during a space walk, do you think this material would help prevent leaks in suits?

I still haven't heard anything about the source of the water leak in the suit but it's a very dangerous situation.  Water is completely different without gravity.

Ces2m5
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Re: Sci-Fi solutions
Ces2m5   7/21/2013 7:25:27 AM
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Thanks Debra. I am curious as to the density of the plastic scintillation would impact on its mass density. To cover a surface area of more than 3500sqft would impose weight restriction or the installation would take time and the material's exposure all the while would reduce its integrity. that would be another space time matter and event, wouldn't you think?

This is the reason I am suggesting a water ice solution. it can be grown fairly easily and perhaps the combination of the two would make it ideal, as the water turns to ice. Vaporization of water between plastic layers until the density of the waster or the volume is met.

Debera Harward
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Re: Sci-Fi solutions
Debera Harward   7/21/2013 5:40:01 AM
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Ces2m5 , you are correct there might be some physics behind how plastic protects astronauts  from cosmic rays unfortunately i donno the entire process  neither i have ever come accross to it . But once i read that 5cm thick plastic  scintillators at the surface  and at the depth of 25m.w was enough but accordong to my knowledge the thickness of plastic depends upon the intensity of the cosmic rays very large intensity cosmic rays cannot be protect by just 5cm thick plastic shield .

Ces2m5
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Re: Sci-Fi solutions
Ces2m5   7/21/2013 2:52:35 AM
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Debra how thick of a plastic would be required to reduce, minimize cosmic ray exposure? I am sure someone has looked at the physics behind how thermo-plastic reduces exposure? And what is the duration of the outer skin before it becomes compromised? The overall protection of all systems on a space station will thermo-plastic be able to act as a protective barrier for the complete space craft?

Debera Harward
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Re: Sci-Fi solutions
Debera Harward   7/20/2013 6:52:31 AM
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Ann, you are absolutely correct main issue  in space is cosmic rays which penetrates inside the tissues and cells of our astronauts and causes damages to  them in terms of health issues causing skin cancer being the least issue. Its great that researchers have invented plastic as a major protection against cosmic rays, plastic can act as a strong wall between cosmic rays and asttonauts. In short now are astronauts can work safely and find  new inventions on the space without keeping in mind their health issues .

Ces2m5
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Iron
Re: Imitation neutrons
Ces2m5   7/20/2013 2:53:08 AM
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Cosmic rays or radiation is the emission of thermal nuclear energy made up of high energy matter that can damage/deteriorate fabricated materials used for space applications. Water in the form of ice can performe the same function as the plastic with greater longevity and can be collected from various planets or cosmic bodies. Please comment.

Ces2m5
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Iron
Re: Imitation neutrons
Ces2m5   7/20/2013 2:34:24 AM
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Thank you for your response. Article(s) out of physics journal had shown and described micro holes in the skin of the Apollo space craft(s) believed to be caused by high energy particles in a zero atmosphere/gravity environment. As a result it could have been one of the causes for the Appollo 13 incident. These micro holes are not present prior to a 'space shot'. The holes are small and in varying sizes that are not noticeable by the eye without assistance. The reason the holes are not formed from natural deterioration is because the holes that resulted show up under an electron microscope as spikes tha have entry and exit points that resulted in the spikes. To prevent the spikes the use of a thermal plastic creates a barrier that either slows some particles depending on the thickness of the skin, is this the assumption? Longevity in space where the environment is not friendly and at some point will cause enough damage to a vessel over time that will impact on an astronaut survivability in long distance space travel; Mars and Jupiter. The LEO of any space craft or satellite endures a lot of the high energy particles that impact on electronics and platform integrity. Neutron particles are more likely not to be impacted by the plastic due to its speed and characteristics. Whether the plastic is impacted by the neutrons is another question. Please comment on my assessment.

Dave Palmer
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Platinum
Re: Imitation neutrons
Dave Palmer   7/19/2013 8:05:08 PM
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@Ces2m5: The material doesn't prevent holes from forming; it absorbs cosmic rays.  It could be used as a barrier around a spacecraft to keep the astronauts inside from being harmed by dangerous radiation.

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