During long-term exploration missions, space radiation will present a risk to astronaut health and could affect the performance of onboard equipment. It will be important to have accurate and reliable detectors that measure radiation dose in real time and indicate the onset of intense radiation from solar particle events.
Dr. Thomas Borak and colleagues are developing dosimeters small enough to fit in a spacesuit or within a backpack during a space walk, also called extravehicular activity (EVA). The device will be sensitive to a large range of charge particles and measure radiation dose and dose rate during an EVA or inside the spacecraft. As the radiation intensity increases during solar particle events, the dosimeter can issue a warning directly to astronauts as well as mission control. This will be a signal for the astronauts to implement measures that include termination of the EVA and travel to a safe haven that contains protective shielding.