Friday, June 28, 2013

Star Trek Style Radiation Deflector Shield Possible?

Right out of a Star Trek episode, UK scientists are working on a device that could protect astronauts from high levels of radiation and it would work very much like the Trek "deflector shield" or how Earth's radiation shield works.  

Recent NASA studies have shown that astronauts exposed to open space, as on an extended trip to Mars, are exposed to as much radiation as they would be allowed to be exposed to in two-thirds of their allowable lifetime exposure.

Effective shielding would be expensive, massive and for the most part impractical.  

But the researchers at Rutherford Appleton Laboratory seemed to have stumbled upon an elegant solution - a mini Earth-magnetosphere.   Researchers have found that if you set up an electric field around an object, electrons from a plasma will flow around the object.  However lighter ions will be deflected or continue past the shielded object.   In effect, a miniature Earth magneto-sphere.   Initial tests have shown proof of concept.  

Radiation shields using this concept will be light and self supporting once started.  

Read more in the IO9 article HERE

Photo shows a small model in an energetic plasma stream.  The model is being protected by an electric / magnetic field as described in the article. 

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