Mars Space Suit Helmet Visor's were mostly made up of polycarbonate [1], the same material used for EMU's visor for performing EVA in earth orbit. Meanwhile, Mars' radiation is 2.5x higher. How are we planning to tackle those issues? What new material might be used?

[1] Lousada, Joao & Kamaletdinova, Guzel & Patel, Divyesh & Ramawickrama, Yasith & Oluwafemi, Funmilola Adebisi & de la Torre, Andrea & Heshani, Uthpala & Onevsky, M. & Skvortsov, Sergey. (2017). Approaches and Solutions for Martian Spacesuit Design.


1 Answer 1


When talking about by "Mars' radiation" and "those issues" it's important to distinguish ionizing radiation from thermal radiation.

Thermal radiation

From the following questions and their answers we can see that it was very important to shield astronauts from thermal radiation.

Why? because they are wrapped in a suit and will quickly overheat if they aren't being constantly cooled by their "backpacks"

Ionizing radiation

I don't have hard numbers but I will estimate that the faceplate is already at least as thick in areal density (grams per square cm) than the suit which covers most of the body. I don't think it makes sense to make the faceplate thicker in order to increase it's ability to shield ionizing radiation because the rest of the body is less protected than the head.

There is of course some UV from the Sun which can produce a nasty sunburn and cataracts in the eyes, but of course since sunlight drops as $1/r^2$ it will be significantly lower at Mars than at 1 AU. The face shield material(s) will be chosen to be absorbing of harmful UV light.

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    $\begingroup$ I seem to recall once reading that the Apollo cabin windows were actually more ionizing-radiation-resistant than the cabin walls, because they had more mass per area. It's similar to your comparison of the helmet versus the suit. $\endgroup$
    – DrSheldon
    Commented Mar 12, 2021 at 6:57

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