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Duke Partners with NASA

Drs. Paul Segars and Ehsan Samei are working in collaboration with the German Aerospace Center, NASA, and the Israeli Space Agency on a project to investigate the radiation exposure experienced by astronauts on deeper space travels. Based on their virtual patient models developed for imaging research, they helped to design two physical phantoms representing female astronauts. In 2020, the phantoms will be strapped into NASA’s Orion spacecraft and flown to the moon and back. They will be fitted with more than 1,400 sensors in order to measure radiation exposure as they travel through space and to investigate the effects of a radiation protection vest worn by one of the phantoms. This effort will mark the first time that scientists collect data on radiation exposure beyond the orbit of the international space station. The ultimate goal is to explore the possibility of sending humans to Mars.