The related question's answer tells about the mitigation procedures for the duration of a 'proton storm'. In particular,

The ISS crew did receive a Solar weather warning several times and were advised to enter the more protected areas of the ISS, such as the US built Destiny laboratory, or the Russian built service module Zvezda

How are these modules protected - what shielding or other measures make them safer than the rest of the station?

  • $\begingroup$ With lots of duct tape. $\endgroup$ – Daniel Apr 9 '16 at 2:36

The two specific modules are protected by two mechanisms:

  • TeSS Polyethylene radiation protection tiles and bricks
  • Water storage bags attached to the walls making a "water wall"

High densities of hydrogen are good at radiation protection, and water is a good hydrogen source that needs to be stored on the ISS. Another good source of dense hydrogen is polyethylene, which is nice and light.

The Zvezda module in particular was lined with Polyethylene in its construction to enable it to play the role of a radiation protection shelter. The radiation protection was modelled as part of the design:

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Future deep space missions propose to utilise water storage walls as part of their design following from experiences on the ISS.


(1) Shavers et.al., 2004, "Radiation Measurements and Shielding Analysis for ISS", Workshop on Radiation Analysis for the International Space Station, Vienna.
(2) Barry & Phillips, 2000, "Water on the Space Station", Science@NASA, November 2000
(3) Azriel, 2012, "“Massively Redundant” Water Walls Spacecraft To Use Water for Everything", Space Safety Magazine, 10 Sep 2012

  • $\begingroup$ If stored water is used as radiation protection, what happens to the protection as the water gets used up? $\endgroup$ – John Dvorak Apr 9 '16 at 4:11
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @JanDvorak I think the water is periodically replenished (by supply cargo?), I would expect that adequate protection would be provided by the worst-case water level and not the best case. $\endgroup$ – Thomas Apr 9 '16 at 8:54

According to the ISS schematics on wikipedia, Destiny is quite in the middle of the station. That should provide some shielding. Zvezda seems to be more exposed, so that might not be the only reason.


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