Markus Novak is among NASA's GCR Challenge Winners

Posted: May 18, 2015

On December 14, 2014, NASA received 136 proposals to its challenge on

Markus Novak
finding ways to reduce astronauts’ exposure to Galactic Cosmic Rays (GCR) while on long duration deep space missions. Currently, exposure to GCR limits mission duration to approximately 150 days while a mission to Mars would take 500 days, thus any further meaningful human exploration missions of space depends on finding a solution to this problem. Among those who submitted a proposal to NASA's GCR Challenge was Markus Novak, an ECE/ESL graduate student pursuing his Ph.D. degree at ESL. He tied for 4th place for his creation of safe areas through particle trajectory simulations and received $ 1,000 monetary award. According to an interview made with Fusion Media Network Markus told that he ".. had found some previous NASA research that [[{"attributes":{},"fields":{}}]]used magnets to deflect the rays—but the thing is, cosmic rays are coming in with absurd amounts of energy… so it takes quite a lot of power to turn these things back. So instead, I developed a lens, which 
Graphic from Novak’s submission. Click on the image to enlarge.
would alter the trajectory just enough to miss the spacecraft.”. To learn more about the awardees and press release made by NASA, please click here. To learn the details of the GCR challenge, please click here

New Challenge is Announced

In an effort to continue to reach the goal, the agency has developed a second challenge that asks the public for ideas on optimal configurations of active and passive solutions to provide crew members maximum protection. Active protection uses magnetic or electrostatic fields to deflect the harmful radiation, while passive protection uses material layering to shield the crew from the GCRs. Submissions to this Challenge must be received by 11:59 PM (US Eastern Time) on June 29, 2015. To learn more about the new challenge and submit a proposal, please visit NASA's Innovation Pavilion Platform website or click here.

On the Media

Recently Markus made an interview with the Lantern staff. Click on the image below to read his approach to the NASA challenge and his aspirations for the future.