Radiation Shielding - With Poop
That's not a post title I expected to write today - some combinations of words just mess with your mind, y'know? The proposed Mars sightseeing mission announced recently has an ingenious - if icky-sounding - method of killing two birds with one stone; in space travel, cosmic radiation is a problem. Astronaut poop is another - you can't just open a trap door and eject it. So, why not use the poop to help shield from the radiation? I never knew feces was good for anything other than fertilizer, but you live and learn. Necessity, as they say, is the Mother of invention.
According to the National Space Biomedical Research Institute, astronauts exposed to heightened radiation levels in outer space risk a variety of health problems, including nausea, fatigue, skin injury, changes in white blood cell counts and the immune system, and – over the longer term – damage to the eyes, lungs, gastrointestinal tract, and central nervous system. In other words, a 17-month-long dose of space radiation would be seriously bad news.TheRegister