This dummy called Helga is destined for a pioneering lunar flyby to help protect space travelers from cosmic rays and energetic solar storms. The female phantom will occupy the passenger seats during Orion’s first mission around the Moon, going further than any human has flown before.
Fitted with more than 5600 sensors, it will measure the amount of radiation astronauts could be exposed to in future missions with unprecedented precision.
The flight test will take place during NASA’s Exploration Mission-1, an uncrewed trip to the vicinity of the Moon and back to Earth.
Radiation poses a major health risk to people in space. Astronauts on the International Space Station receive doses 250 higher than on Earth. Away from Earth’s magnetic field and into interplanetary space, the impact on the human body could be much higher – up to 700 times more.
The phantom simulates an adult female torso. Helga is made up of 38 slices of tissue-equivalent plastics that mimic the varying density of bones, soft tissue and lungs. Similar dummies are used in hospitals to quantify the right dose of radiation for cancer therapies.