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Free Public Lecture: Mars: A Space Radiation Odyssey

13 Sep 2022 10:22 PM | Anonymous

Radiation protection is critical for the future human exploration of Mars. Learn about the health hazards and current research in Australia.

Attend In-Person: Click here for Tickets. Theatre tickets are only required if you wish to attend this meeting in-person. Tickets are FREE and can be obtained online via Eventbrite. Ticket numbers may be limited to ensure compliance with SA Govt indoor seating restrictions. Please cancel your tickets if you are unable to attend in-person.

About this event

Members of the general public are most welcome to attend this joint meeting of the Astronomical Society of South Australia (ASSA) and the Australian Institute of Physics (AIP).

Speaker: A/Prof Susanna Guatelli, Centre for Medical Radiation Physics, University of Wollongong

Abstract: Human missions to Mars have been identified as a main goal of human exploration by the International Space Exploration Coordination Group in 2013. The roadmap to the human exploration of Mars started with the International Space Station mission about twenty years ago and is envisaged to continue with a human outpost on the Moon and finally with a mission to Mars within the next twenty years. A human mission to Mars would expose astronauts to serious health hazards, including acute and late risks caused by exposure to cosmic radiation, eventually leading to cancer and death. The design of shielding solutions and of powerful and accurate radiation monitoring systems are subjects of research to facilitate the human exploration of the Solar System. However, the testing of proposed novel technologies is limited on Earth as there are no accelerator facilities capable to reproduce the complex cosmic radiation field the astronauts would encounter in space. In the past fifteen years, Monte Carlo simulations, capable to describe cosmic radiation interactions in space mission habitats and in astronauts, demonstrated to be an extremely useful tool for radiation protection studies of astronauts. This seminar will begin with a description of the health hazards in astronauts caused by cosmic radiation and of Monte Carlo simulations for space exploration. The speaker will then illustrate her research in this field aimed to develop simulation tools to improve the prediction of health hazards in astronauts.

Bio: A/Prof Guatelli trained as a nuclear physicist at the University of Genova, Italy. In 2003 she had the opportunity to undertake a PhD in physics, based at the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN). Her enthusiasm for medical physics drove her to study possible radiation protection solutions for human mission to Mars (a project led by the European Space Agency) as her PhD research topic. In 2007 she moved to Australia and since 2009 she has been an academic at the School of Physics, University of Wollongong where she is the academic director of the Medical Radiation Physics Bachelor Degree. She is an internationally recognised expert of Monte Carlo simulations for medical applications, including radiation protection of astronauts. In 2021 she was awarded with the prestigious Women in Physics Award of the Australian Institute of Physics, which celebrates female physicists that have made a significant contribution to research in physics. In 2022 she became a member of the ARC (Australian Research Council) Panel of experts. Susanna has been chair/co-chair of several international workshops and conference sessions dedicated to Monte Carlo codes applied to medical physics. She is Associate Editor of Physica Medica and of Applied Radiation and Isotopes.

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