A Self-Replicating Radiation-Shield for Human Deep-Space Exploration: Radiotrophic Fungi can Attenuate Ionizing Radiation aboard the International Space Station

Humans are wanting to push the boundaries of space exploration. In the past, space explorers have gone to the moon and have sent drones to various locations. Now, humans are focusing on getting people to go to Mars. However, astronauts face high levels of radiation exposure. Earth has a magnetosphere that blocks the radiation from entering the atmosphere. The suits that astronauts have to wear serve as a protective layer from these harmful rays and allow them to breathe oxygen. Space is unpredictable and has made it challenging to find the best product to keep people safe. Also, Mars is further away than the moon. Scientists need to be more cautious of the increased radiation exposure that astronauts will have to face and make the space suits have more advantaged shielding capabilities.

Technology has come a long way since the first person walked on the moon, and biotechnology shows regeneration and adaptability capabilities that would be useful. There are some types of fungi that live in conditions that match the intense radiation levels of space. The fungi could thrive in these circumstances and researchers wanted to extract these unique capabilities that allowed them to be unharmed from the intense radiation rays.

Scientists set up and created testing areas, just like these environments, to figure out the best way to confirm the fungi’s protective DNA to a defensive shield. These tests went through trial and error over various thicknesses based on the exposure of radiation. This would help protect astronauts by reducing the shields mass and increasing its level of safety against high radiation amounts. Creating a self-replicating radiation shield is now obtainable and scientists will continue their work to keep these astronauts protected.

Read the Full Article in BioRxiv: A Radiation-Shield for Human Deep-Space Exploration

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