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Helga and Zohar Are No Ordinary Mannequins, They Pave the Way for Women Flying to the Moon

One of NASA’s plans for historic endeavors is to send the first woman to the Moon through the Artemis program. In preparation for that, the Artemis I mission planned to launch this summer, will fly to the Moon two mannequins that are highly-advanced representations of the female body.
Helga and Zohar were shipped to the Kennedy Space Center 7 photos
Helga and Zohar MannequinsHelga and Zohar MannequinsNASA's SLS RocketArtemis ProgramThe uncrewed Artemis I mission to the MoonSpace Launch System
Once outside the Earth’s atmosphere, astronauts have to withstand incredible levels of radiation. According to DLR (The German Aerospace Institute), the Orion capsule that will be flown to the Moon this summer will be exposed to an even harsher radiation environment than the crew on the ISS (International Space Station) because it will be outside the Earth’s magnetic field. In order to find the best ways of protecting future female astronauts from this radiation, these two human-like mannequins will be sent to space for a scientific test.

They are called Helga and Zohar. One of them will fly unprotected, while the other one will wear a special protection vest developed by AstroRad. This will allow scientists to gather and compare two different sets of data so that they can evaluate the vest’s efficiency.

Resembling two female torsos, Helga and Zohar are 90 cm tall (almost three feet) and weigh 36 kg (79 lb). But they are far from ordinary mannequins. Not only are they equipped with 10,000 passive sensors and 34 active radiation detectors, but the materials that were used to create them mimic the bones, soft tissues, and organs of an adult woman.

Helga and Zohar were developed as part of the MARE experiment, led by DLR, and conducted together with NASA, Lockheed Martin, the Israeli Space Agency (ISA), and StemRad, the creator of the special protection vest. This is considered the largest experiment ever made for studying radiation exposure related to astronauts outside the low-Earth orbit.

The two pioneering mannequins have arrived at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center (KSC) for the upcoming launch. According to DLR, Helga and Zohar will be installed in the Orion capsule around one month prior to the summer launch, ready for the historical experiment.

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