With solar storms at a historic high, NASA is worried about the radiation that’s raining down on astronauts. They’re developing a radiation shield that can be used on spacecraft, shuttles and the International Space Station.

NASA’s Ed Semmes says, “Going anywhere in the solar system or universe will depend on protecting crews from radiation. Lunar exploration, which may be in the near future, and if we chose to go to Mars in the future, will be dependent on this research.”

The shield will be composed of polyethylene impregnated with hydrogen, which breaks down harmful cancer-causing radiation by turning heavy ions into lighter, less harmful, ones. The shield will also protect against strikes from micrometeroids, which are small, high-speed small particles that can damage spacecraft.

There’s more than one kind of Firestorm.

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