NASA’s current vision for space exploration includes long duration human travel beyond LEO and sustained a human presence on other planetary surfaces. For this vision to be a reality, one of the major challenges that need to be overcome would be to minimize the radiation exposure to crew and equipment from the interplanetary radiation environment. Life on Earth is well protected from this radiation environment by a combination of the geomagnetic field and the atmospheric overburden. In LEO, the radiation exposure to astronauts is kept below the National Council on Radiation Protection (NCRP) limits by limiting their exposure time and by taking advantage of the shielding still offered by the geomagnetic field. However, exposure to free space cosmic radiation during an approximately 2 year round trip to Mars or during extended stays of up to a few months on the surface of the Moon or Mars could result in significant biological damage.
Geocent provides solutions for such deep space missions by developing multifunctional coatings not only for radiation shielding but also for structural integrity. Innovative low-temperature Vacuum Plasma Spray (VPS) technique are used to deposit specialized coating for neutron attenuation. Numerical simulation and exposure to heavy ions and neutron flux demonstrated the effective shielding characteristics of this composite. Using the MISSE facility on board the International Space Station will provide further evidence of their durability against the combined environment of atomic oxygen, UV radiation, and temperature extremes