While it’s far too early to speculate on who will be the first humans to travel to Mars, we may have an idea of what they will wear: An Israeli-designed space suit.
Together with the Israel Space Agency and the German Aerospace Center, Israeli startup StemRad is suiting up to launch a trial of its new protective suit against cosmic gamma rays on the next flight of NASA’s Orion satellite.
If an initial experiment flight to the moon next year shows that the suit adequately protects the flight test dummy wearing it, StemRad’s suit may be used on the first manned flight to the red planet.
The story of how this Israeli radiation protection suit was born began during a restless night experienced by Dr. Oren Milstein soon after the earthquake and subsequent nuclear disaster at the nuclear reactors at Fukushima, Japan in 2011.
Following the disaster, they began developing a suit designed for the rescue forces in disaster areas who are exposed to dangerous high-intensity radiation. A few months after the disaster, Dr. Milstein founded the start-up StemRad to developed a special belt to protect the pelvic area, which contains half of the human bone marrow. Because the vest protects the wearer from gamma radiation, the belt is now widely used among first responders around the world. It comes in all sizes, is 100 percent fire-resistant, and has specialized features such as reflector strips and ballistic resistance.
StemRad’s suit protects mainly bone marrow, the lungs, chest, stomach, intestine, and the ovaries among women. These organs are particularly sensitive to the formation of malignant tumors as a result of exposure to radiation. The suit itself is made out of hydrogen-rich materials and worn like a vest.
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