NASA’s Artemis I mission to the moon has reached a successful conclusion, with the Orion spacecraft splashing down Sunday at 12:40 EST in the Pacific Ocean.
NASA engineers were to perform several additional tests while Orion is in the water and before powering down the spacecraft to hand it over to the recovery team aboard the USS Portland.
The most powerful rocket in the world, NASA’s Orion spacecraft lifted off from NASA’s Space Launch System at 1:47 am EST November 16 on its mission to prepare the way for America’s return to the moon.
Ahead of the Artemis I launch last month, NASA installed Zohar and Helga, the two identical manikins for testing a new radiation protection vest developed by the Israeli startup StemRad.
The experiment called Matroshka AstroRad Radiation Experiment (MARE) aimed to investigate radiation exposure throughout the flight and test the effectiveness of the new protection vest developed by Israeli StemRad, supported by Israel Space Agency within the Ministry of Innovation, Science and Technology of Israel.
The MARE experiment was to address one of the greatest health hazards for crews on space missions beyond low-Earth orbit – space radiation.
Thus far, all human-staffed missions to explore space, besides Apollo’s missions to the moon, were limited to low-Earth orbits where most of the harmful radiation, including those due to solar storms and cosmic galactic radiation, is shielded by the Earth magnetic field.
The Helga and Zohar mannikins were manufactured from materials that mimic human bone, soft tissues, and the organs of an adult female. Female forms were chosen because women typically have greater sensitivity to the effects of space radiation.
Zohar wore the StemRad radiation vest, which covers the upper body, the uterus, and blood-forming organs, while Helga did not. Both were equipped with radiation detectors to enable scientists to map internal radiation doses to bodily areas containing critical organs.
Helga and Zohar were also collecting data on how much radiation astronauts might experience inside Orion on a lunar mission – conditions that cannot be recreated on Earth.
The experiment was co-managed by ISA and DLR, with the assistance of Lockheed Martin, manufacturer of the Orion spacecraft, for NASA. NASA participated in the experiment as co-principal investigator.