MIT SoE — Lord Foundation Undergraduate Research and Innovation Scholar
Redirecting a Near-Earth Asteroid for Use as an Earth-Mars Cycler
Olivier de Weck
One of the greatest problems in sending humans to Mars is the high doses of radiation that they would be exposed to during the transit between the planets. Radiation shielding, particularly against the most severe Galactic Cosmic Rays (GCRs) typically requires large inert, dense shields, such as lead. Launching material from Earth is resource intensive, with launch vehicles typically among the most expensive components of space missions. This study is to investigate several methods of using material from near-Earth asteroids as shielding for trans-Martian manned missions, and compare these methods to more traditional mission architectures on the metrics of required launch mass from Earth and number of launches (which is directly linked to cost) and radiation exposure while in transit.
My name is Ryan; I’m a senior in aerospace engineering. I’ve always been fascinate by space travel, and in my time at MIT, I’ve been involved in a number of great experiences, including several UROPs and internships at Boeing and SpaceX. I’m particularly excited for my superUROP because it is a great vehicle for me to pursue my research experiences, and essentially test-drive being a graduate student.