John D. Odegard School of Aerospace Sciences

News and information from the UND John D. Odegard School of Aerospace Sciences.

Thesis Proposal by Arturo Ortiz on September 3rd

Space Studies master’s student, Arturo Ortiz, will give his thesis proposal presentation as follows.  All Space Studies students, faculty and staff are encouraged to attend.  All department funded students are expected to attend.

When:  Wednesday, September 3rd at 3:30 p.m.

Where:  Ryan Hall, Room 111 (not available online)

Title: Radiation Shielding Approaches for Planetary Surface Exploration:  A Mars Case Study for UND Concepts

About the topic: These investigations will examine approaches to protect astronauts on Mars from severe consequences of prolonged exposure to ionizing radiation.  The Mars surface radiation environment is severe compared to Earth at sea level, due to lack of a planetary magnetic field, and little protection provided by a thin atmosphere.  The ultimate goal of these investigations is to generate radiation exposure data that may serve as input to models for prediction of stochastic effects of exposure to ionizing radiation, such as delayed onset of cancer.  The investigations will focus on concepts for planetary surface exploration developed by the University of North Dakota, Department of Space Studies, such as the NDX-1 and NDX-2 space suits, the Inflatable Lunar-Martian Habitat (ILMH), and the Pressurized Electric Rover (PER), taking into account regular extravehicular activity (EVA) regimens for exploration.  State-of-the-art NASA space radiation transport and nuclear fragmentation codes will be applied to assess astronaut exposure to ionizing radiation in the Mars surface environment.  Operational approaches for radiation shielding will involve use of Mars regolith and hydrogen-rich materials.  The investigations will produce estimates of acute exposure to severe solar particle events (SPEs) during surface EVA in planetary space suits and rovers, and prolonged exposure to galactic cosmic radiation (GCR) during extended stay in the relatively protected surface habitat.  Multilayer shields consisting of Mars regolith, rover and space suit materials, hydrogen-rich shielding material, and human tissue will be assessed for their effectiveness to attenuate radiation.  External SPE and GCR environments, available from the NASA Langley research center, will be incorporated into the analyses.  Fluence, dose, dose equivalent, and linear energy transfer distributions of penetrating radiation will be estimated for a Mars surface stay of approximately one Earth year.


Arturo earned a B.S. in Physics from the University of Puerto Rico (Rio Piedras) in 1978, a B.S. in Aeronautical Engineering from the Air Force Institute of Technology in 1983, and an M.S. in Physics from the California State University (Northridge) in 1998.  As an Air Force officer, he worked in solid rocket propulsion and space surveillance, and served as an Air Force Space Command instructor for missile warning crews.  As a civilian engineer, he worked in testing of Tomahawk cruise missiles, testing of the RS-68 rocket engine for the Delta IV space launch vehicle, and flight testing of the X-43A, C-17A, C-130J, and C-5M aircraft.  He taught physics as adjunct faculty for Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, and space systems management for Webster University.  Retired after 33 years of military and civil service, he is pursuing an M.S. in Space Studies as a first step toward a new career of research and teaching in the space sciences.