traveling at 17,000 mph. Since most of the supplies are sent up in lightweight plastic wrapping which is also ideal as radiation shielding, researchers are evaluating how well recycled trash can protect astronauts from radiation danger. To do so, they are compacting and heating the trash so that it melts, yet isn’t incinerated, into small tiles. Theoretically, these tiles could line the outside or inside of a spacecraft at key locations as to provide better radiation shielding.
danger to astronauts in Low Earth Orbit, the radiation that is encountered in interplanetary space can be worse. Without any magnetic protection from Earth, radiation ejected from the sun in solar storms can be extremely dangerous, even deadly. You would think that the aluminum skin of spacecraft would do a good job of protecting astronauts
from radiation, yet it doesn’t do very well at all and can actually increase
radiation if you are too close to it. Engineers have found that materials that have high amounts of Hydrogen tend to serve well as radiation shields. Using water as radiation shielding has been considered, since it will be needed anyways. Only recently has the same plastic that we come in contact daily has been considered as radiation shielding. Since plastic is made from Hydrocarbons, which are made up of a large amount of Hydrogen, it turns out that it also serves as a radiation shield. While a single plastic water bottle isn’t going to save you from a sunburn on a sunny day, a hundred plastic water bottles might, especially if they are compacted to 10 times their original size.