Scroll down to read this post.


Please consider supporting my work here at Behind the Black. I keep the website clean from pop-ups and annoying demands. Instead, I depend entirely on my readers to support me. Though this means I am sacrificing some income, it also means that I remain entirely independent from outside pressure. By depending solely on donations and subscriptions from my readers, no one can threaten me with censorship. You don't like what I write, you can simply go elsewhere.


You can support me either by giving a one-time contribution or a regular subscription. There are five ways of doing so:


1. Zelle: This is the only internet method that charges no fees. All you have to do is use the Zelle link at your internet bank and give my name and email address (zimmerman at nasw dot org). What you donate is what I get.


2. Patreon: Go to my website there and pick one of five monthly subscription amounts, or by making a one-time donation.

3. A Paypal Donation:

4. A Paypal subscription:

5. Donate by check, payable to Robert Zimmerman and mailed to
Behind The Black
c/o Robert Zimmerman
P.O.Box 1262
Cortaro, AZ 85652


You can also support me by buying one of my books, as noted in the boxes interspersed throughout the webpage or shown in the menu above. And if you buy the books through the ebookit links, I get a larger cut and I get it sooner.

Data from an experiment on Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter has confirmed that light plastics can provide sufficient protection for humans against radiation.

Data from an experiment on Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter has confirmed that light plastics can provide sufficient protection for humans against radiation.

This is very good news indeed. Combined with the data from Curiosity, which indicated that the radiation levels in interplanetary space were less intense that expected, it appears that radiation will not be a serious obstacle to interplanetary travel.

Now we just have to get the bone loss and vision problems solved.

Genesis cover

On Christmas Eve 1968 three Americans became the first humans to visit another world. What they did to celebrate was unexpected and profound, and will be remembered throughout all human history. Genesis: the Story of Apollo 8, Robert Zimmerman's classic history of humanity's first journey to another world, tells that story, and it is now available as both an ebook and an audiobook, both with a foreword by Valerie Anders and a new introduction by Robert Zimmerman.

The ebook is available everywhere for $5.99 (before discount) at amazon, or direct from my ebook publisher, ebookit. If you buy it from ebookit you don't support the big tech companies and the author gets a bigger cut much sooner.

The audiobook is also available at all these vendors, and is also free with a 30-day trial membership to Audible.

"Not simply about one mission, [Genesis] is also the history of America's quest for the moon... Zimmerman has done a masterful job of tying disparate events together into a solid account of one of America's greatest human triumphs."--San Antonio Express-News


  • Patrick Ritchie

    Good news indeed!

    Hopefully the nanoracks centrifuge can pave the way to a larger experiment where we can identify if some level of artificial gravity can address bone loss and vision problems.

    Or perhaps G-Lab will get off the ground and provide us some data.

  • Two words: Tethered spinning.

  • Patrick Ritchie

    I very much hope so!

  • I think that a careful reading of the news article does not necessarily result in the conclusion that the GCR problem is now solved.

  • Edward

    I see these data points as good news, even those that tell us that we need more or heavier shielding or that bone loss or eye damage may occur.

    The more data points that we collect the better will be our designs to protect our spacefaring crews. Improving safety in space is going to be a long-term mission, with many lessons learned the hard way. The more that we learn before sending crews into harm’s way the better off those crews will be.

    Creative solutions such as tethered spinning will go a long way toward solving the problems that we now know and the problems that we will discover as we explore the solar system in person.

  • Still going to need ‘storm shelters’ on ships and ground installations for those times when the Sun gets a bit techy.

  • joe

    What’s a few extra x-rays going to hurt!

  • wodun

    Yup, according to the article, astronauts would receive nearly the career cap on what NASA considers a safe exposure to radiation on the journey. Although, is a 5% greater chance to get cancer that big a deal?

    Seems like everyone gets cancer if they live long enough.

  • Solar particle events are way more than a few extra x-rays. In fact, Apollo was lucky to miss an event in 1972 which would have been immediately lethal had the crew been out on an EVA.

    None-the-less, a storm shelter is entirely feasible. I haven’t been able to track down the real numbers but it seems like a shelter surrounded with 10 cm of your water, food, and waste should be sufficient protection.

    GCRs are the real issue, but it is looking to me like you would need about 7 tonnes of shielding (food, water, waste, equipment, & polyethylene) to bring one’s cancer risk down to 4%.

Readers: the rules for commenting!


No registration is required. I welcome all opinions, even those that strongly criticize my commentary.


However, name-calling and obscenities will not be tolerated. First time offenders who are new to the site will be warned. Second time offenders or first time offenders who have been here awhile will be suspended for a week. After that, I will ban you. Period.


Note also that first time commenters as well as any comment with more than one link will be placed in moderation for my approval. Be patient, I will get to it.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *