NASA's New Radiation Shielding First Proposed By John W. Campbell In 1936
NASA engineers are working on a clever new idea for shielding astronauts from cosmic rays. If you put the tanks containing the fuel and water needed for the journey on the outside of the living space, they can be used for shielding. Just like science fiction writer John W. Campbell first proposed in 1936.
(From Shields Up! New Radiation Protection for Spacecraft and Astronauts)
Richard Wilkins, director of NASA's Center for Applied Radiation Research at Prairie View A & M University in Texas has conducted a study into liquid shield approaches. As he puts it
"In most [mission] scenarios, you need liquid hydrogen for fuel and you need water. And these are all considered materials that are particularly good for cosmic ray shielding."
The tests demonstrate that the atoms of liquid hydrogen provide an excellent screen against cosmic rays; they don't fragment into secondary particles like heavier elements (as would be the case with lead shielding). And the radiation from secondary particles can be just as harmful.
In 1936, the protagonists of John W. Campbell's The Ultimate Weapon found themselves in need of good shielding from blasts of radiation:
"You mean they bathed that ship in neutrons?"
"Shot it full of 'em. Just like our proton guns, only sending neutrons."
"Well, why weren't we killed too?"
"Water stops neutrons," Kendall said. "Figure it out."
"The rocket-water tanks - all around us... that saved us?"
See Shields Up! New Radiation Protection for Spacecraft and Astronauts for more information. (Thanks to Winchell Chung for the story idea.)
Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 5/27/2004)
Follow this kind of news @Technovelgy.
| Email | RSS | Blog It | Stumble | del.icio.us | Digg | Reddit |
you like to contribute a story tip?
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add
Comment/Join discussion ( 6 )
Related News Stories -
SKYLON Space Plane Gets Boost
'They were more airplane than spaceship...'- Robert Heinlein, 1951.
Europe's Cheops To Look For Habitable Planets
'I was near enough it now to set my automatic astronomical instruments to searching it for a habitable planet.'- Edmond Hamilton, 1936.
SpaceX Dragon First Private Craft To Dock With ISS
'Why, the ship wasn't a proper deep-space craft at all.'- Robert Heinlein, 1941.
SpaceX Dragon To Land On Any Planet
A space craft should be able to 'land on its fins' and take off again, don't you think?
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.
Autonomous Vehicle By Delphi Goes Coast-to-Coast
''All right, sir or madam,' the MacMillan robot answered...'
NASA's VestaTrek - Visit Asteroid Vesta
'At the Asteroids Homesteaders' School in Chicago... he had been shown diagrams and photographs of Vesta.'
Periscope App Signals End Of Journalism
'Jerry berry... panned the camera...'
Rollkers Walking Skates
'Each had three small, rubber-covered wheels, one in front and two in the rear.'
Google Patents Douglas Adam's Genuine People Personalities For Robots
'Let's build robots with Genuine People Personalities,' they said.'
Fix Michigan Roads, Or Get Hovercars?
'Dead for many years was the old concept of smooth, hard-surfaced, almost polished highways...'
eMotionButterfly Ultralight Robot From Festo
'Artificial butterflies darted along invisible beams...'
XM82 Personal Flamethrower Now In Development
'Skeletons in tatters. Burned by a flesh gun'
Graphene Cytobot - Cyborg Bacterial Spores May Help Astronauts
'[It] had not yet objected to being made over into a portion of an electronic system... '
Delightful Plen2 Mirror Robot - The Anti-Terminator
Time for fun, Will Robinson!
LiquiGlide Will Be Everywhere
'They poured the remnants of eggs out of their frictionless cups...'
US Customs Now Doing Facial Recognition At DC Airport
Are you who you say you are?
How Many Systems In That Galactic Empire Now?
'An Empire to twenty million stellar systems...'
Petman Robot Pushes Itself To The Limit
'There was the butler robot, hard at work, his copper face expressionless...'
Coleus LED 'Skylight' Dispenses Natural Sunlight Indoors
'How do they work it so that the sky is visible at every level of the city?'
UR3 Robot At Work On Copies Of Itself
'I don't mean that you should construct this ultra-microrobot with your own fingers, of course...'
More SF in the News Stories
More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories