Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering
Nuclear & Radiological Engineering and Medical Physics Programs
NASA Active Shielding: A New Approach
Dr. Amir Bahadori
Associate Professor and Steve Hsu Keystone Research Faculty Scholar Alan Levin Department of Mechanical and Nuclear Engineering Carl R. Ice College of Engineering Kansas State University
Thursday, April 15, 2021 at 11:00:00 AM Add to Calendar
Cosmic rays were discovered in the early 20th Century and space radiation was identified as an astronaut health concern as early as NASA`s Apollo Program. Parallel with increasing knowledge of ionizing radiation health effects, NASA`s focus has shifted away from mitigating exposure from sporadic solar particle events to the low-flux density, slowly-varying galactic cosmic rays, which are very difficult to shield with matter. Recent work using NASA`s high charge and energy transport code HZETRN, along with Monte Carlo simulations, has conclusively established that a galactic cosmic ray exposure mitigation approach relying solely ``passive`` shielding quickly reaches a point of diminishing returns. As an alternative, electromagnetic, or ``active``, shielding approaches have been studied for several decades, but researchers have generally restricted scope to one or a few unique configurations and arrived at the same conclusion: active shielding is not feasible. In this talk, I will discuss the unique approach of NASA`s Advanced Exploration Systems Active Shielding Project, which includes development of a GPU-based Monte Carlo particle propagation code, development of a novel active shielding scaling law, laboratory validation at DOE`s Brookhaven National Laboratory, and evaluation of shielding efficacy for several unique electrostatic shielding configurations. I will also discuss how my career path led me to work with NASA and my perspectives on the future of radiation protection in space.
Amir Bahadori is an associate professor and Steve Hsu Keystone Research Faculty Scholar in the Alan Levin Department of Mechanical and Nuclear Engineering at Kansas State University. He earned BS degrees in Mechanical Engineering with Nuclear Engineering Option and Mathematics from KSU in 2008. He attended graduate school at the University of Florida, graduating in 2010 with an MS in Nuclear and Radiological Engineering and in 2012 with a PhD in Biomedical Engineering. Bahadori was employed at NASA Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center from 2010 to 2015, with work focused on astronaut radiation risk projection and assessment, space radiation dosimetry using active pixel detectors, and space radiation transport using deterministic and Monte Carlo-based codes. He returned to KSU as an assistant professor in December 2015, where he teaches courses in nuclear and radiological engineering and conducts research with focus areas in space radiation protection, radiation transport applications, and semiconductor detector modeling and simulation.