Society News Archive

4 September 2000

College of William and Mary researchers have developed bricks made out of polyethylene and topsoil that may protect astronauts against cosmic radiation on Mars, according to an Associated Press (AP) news release. (To view the release go to "Science" from the AP homepage.)

The researchers are working with the NASA Langley Research Center. The press release states that NASA hopes to put people on Mars within the next several decades. "The prospect of an extended stay on Mars prompts a number of concerns, among them the health effects of galactic cosmic radiation," the Associate Press states. Therefore, the astronauts will need a material to build shelters to shield against radiation. The researchers say that the work also could have applications on Earth, such as use in shields around nuclear reactors.