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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.

Conscious Choice cover

Now available in hardback and paperback as well as ebook!


From the press release: In this ground-breaking new history of early America, historian Robert Zimmerman not only exposes the lie behind The New York Times 1619 Project that falsely claims slavery is central to the history of the United States, he also provides profound lessons about the nature of human societies, lessons important for Americans today as well as for all future settlers on Mars and elsewhere in space.

Conscious Choice: The origins of slavery in America and why it matters today and for our future in outer space, is a riveting page-turning story that documents how slavery slowly became pervasive in the southern British colonies of North America, colonies founded by a people and culture that not only did not allow slavery but in every way were hostile to the practice.  
Conscious Choice does more however. In telling the tragic history of the Virginia colony and the rise of slavery there, Zimmerman lays out the proper path for creating healthy societies in places like the Moon and Mars.


“Zimmerman’s ground-breaking history provides every future generation the basic framework for establishing new societies on other worlds. We would be wise to heed what he says.” —Robert Zubrin, founder of founder of the Mars Society.


All editions are available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and all book vendors, with the ebook priced at $5.99 before discount. The ebook can also be purchased direct from my ebook publisher, ebookit, in which case you don't support the big tech companies and I get a bigger cut much sooner.


Autographed printed copies are also available at discount directly from me (hardback $24.95; paperback $14.95; Shipping cost for either: $5.00). Just email me at zimmerman @ nasw dot org.


  • 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%.

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