How's your origami?

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) are teaming up with the crowdsourcing site Freelancer to find origami experts to design radiation shielding that can protect spacecraft from dangerous galactic cosmic rays (GCRs). Their origins are still a mystery, but GCRs — high-energy protons and atomic nuclei — are one of the biggest obstacles to long-haul space exploration owing to the risk of cancer from prolonged exposure to them. Shielding against GCRs is much more difficult than shielding against terrestrial radiation because a greater mass of shielding is required to block them, and is a huge priority for NASA. By using the principles of origami, NASA believes there may be a way of amassing the required volume of shielding due to how effectively and intricately the paper-folding art manages to collapse and conceal its structures. To find out more go to NASA's Space Radiation Program Element and the Freelancer website.