Science Fiction Dictionary
A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z

 

'Protonic Storms' Unleashed On DNA In Space

In his 1937 classic Menace in Miniature, Raymond Z. Gallun writes (in classic pulp sci-fi style) about the effects of proton pistols:

Their proton beams flared out, lashing the subtle particles into violent motion, and reducing them to fragments too fine to be visible, even if magnified a thousand diameters. The entire atmosphere within the war turret was submitted to the sterilizing action of the beams. Any living thing in the paths of the protonic storms from the pistols, must surely have been destroyed.
(Read more about proton pistols)

It turns out that Gallun was right about the effects of these "protonic storms" on living cells. In deep space, protons are the most abundant type of charged particle. Scientists at the NASA Space Radiation Laboratory at DOE's Brookhaven National Laboratory have recently discovered that proton radiation is more damaging to cells that was previously supposed.

This means that future space missions, particularly lengthy missions to Mars, must take additional precautions.


(From NASA Space Radiation Laboratory beamline)

"Scientists have been assuming that protons damage cells in a way similar to x-rays, but our results indicate that these assumptions have been wrong. The new data show that protons produce more potentially lethal double-strand breaks, a type of severe DNA damage, than other kinds of DNA damages,” said Brookhaven biologist Betsy Sutherland, the study’s lead researcher. “This means that scientists don’t really know how human DNA is affected by the most numerous particles in space and, as a result, do not know how to design the proper protection for astronauts."
(From Proton radiation more dangerous than once thought)

Sutherland and her group are now working with human cells irradiated by the same beams. Their research has shown that the use of low-energy protons in cancer treatment may need to be reexamined; improvements in cancer therapy could follow.

One local source of energetic protons is our own Sun; read about how solar activity has been shown to affect space missions throughout the solar system in Solar-Powered Interplanetary Shock Tracked To Saturn. Take a look at a "new" idea for shielding spacecraft in NASA's New Radiation Shielding First Proposed By John W. Campbell In 1936. Read more about Proton radiation more dangerous than once thought.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 2/22/2006)

Follow this kind of news @Technovelgy.

| Email | RSS | Blog It | Stumble | del.icio.us | Digg | Reddit |

Would you like to contribute a story tip? It's easy:
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add it here.

Comment/Join discussion ( 0 )

Related News Stories - (" Space Tech ")

ESA To Build Moon Bases Brick By Printed LEGO Brick
'We made a crude , small cell and were delighted - and, I admit, somewhat surprised - to find it worked.' - John W. Campbell, 1950.

FLOAT Levitating Train On The Moon ala Clarke
'The low-slung monorail car, straddling its single track, bored through the shadows on a slowly rising course.' - Arthur C. Clarke, 1955.

SpaceX Intros Extravehicular Activity Suit
'Provision had been made to meet the terrific cold which we knew would be encountered the moment we had passed beyond the atmosphere.' - Garrett P. Serviss, 1898.

SpaceX Wants A Moonbase Alpha
'And he had been sent with troops, supplies and bombs to command Russia's most trusted post, the Moonbase.' - L. Ron Hubbard, 1948.

 

Google
  Web TechNovelgy.com   

Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!) is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for the Invention Category that interests you, the Glossary, the Invention Timeline, or see what's New.

 

 

 

 

Science Fiction Timeline
1600-1899
1900-1939
1940's   1950's
1960's   1970's
1980's   1990's
2000's   2010's

Current News

WiFi and AI Team Up To See Through Walls
'The pitiless M rays pierced Earth and steel and densest concrete as if they were so much transparent glass...'

Climate Engineering In California Could Make Europe's Heat Waves Worse
'Pina2bo would have to operate full blast for many years to put as much SO2 into the stratosphere as its namesake had done in a few minutes.'

Optimus Robot Will Be A Good Nanny, Says Musk
'Nanny is different,' Tom Fields murmured... 'she's not like a machine. She's like a person.'

ESA To Build Moon Bases Brick By Printed LEGO Brick
'We made a crude , small cell and were delighted - and, I admit, somewhat surprised - to find it worked.'

Does The Shortage Of Human Inputs Limit AI Development?
'...we've promised him a generous pension from the royalties.'

Textiles That Harvest Energy And Store It
'The clothes and jewelery drew their tiny power requirements from her movements.'

LORIS Passive-Gripper Climbing Robot
'At the end of each appendage's eight fingers there are tinier appendages...'

Neuroplatform Human Brain Organoid Bioprocessor Uses Less Electricity
'Cultured brains on a slab.'

Drug To Regenerate Teeth In Humans
'We want to do something to help those who are suffering from tooth loss or absence,' said lead researcher Katsu Takahashi.

Coin-Sized Nuclear Battery Good For 100 Years
'...power pack the size of a pea.'

Live Stream With Meta-Ban Multimodal Smart Glasses
'...the bug-eyed, opaque gape of her True-Vu lenses.'

'Autonomous' Waymo Improves Driving With Remote Human Operators
'...some bored drone pusher in a remote driving centre has got your life... in his hands.'

Will Whales Be Our First Contact?
'He had piloted the Adastra to its first contact with the civilization of another solar system.'

Heinlein’s Controlway - Connected and Automated Vehicle (CAV) Corridor In Michigan
'Well, that's us,' said Lazarus.

NYC/Dublin Portal Fails To Meet 'Guardian Of Forever' Standards
I am the Guardian of Forever.

SliceIt! Why Not Teach Robots To Use Knives?
'One building now gushed forth smoke and another stench that was unmistakable.'

More SF in the News Stories

More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories

Home | Glossary | Invention Timeline | Category | New | Contact Us | FAQ | Advertise |
Technovelgy.com - where science meets fiction™

Copyright© Technovelgy LLC; all rights reserved.