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.
Will You Upload Your Mind Anytime Soon?
And if so, how long will the copy last?
Students! NASA Wants To 3D Print Your Tool Design In Space!
'Mass-produced only in the orbiting factories...'
Amazing ARES Augmented Reality Sandbox
'First he showed him where the input and output of his brand-new kingdom were, and how to program wars...'
'3D Light Sculpture' Projected Directly Onto Retina
'...projects directly on the retina of the eye…'
3D Printer Vending Machine Dispenses Dreams
'Nanofax AG offers a technology that digitally reproduces objects, physically, at a distance.'
Why Not Nurse Grandma With A Robot?
'She's made of a combination of springs, levers, acoustic instruments...'
Flock Of Minisats Will Image The Earth
'We... dropped roughly a thousand eyes on Beta Hydri IV.'
Robert Heinlein, Your Self-Driving Car Is Almost Ready!
'Mary Risling settled back for a little nap...'
Should Robots Have Civil Rights?
'I've seen things... you people wouldn't believe...'
The Manned Maneuvering Unit Story
'Little spurts of red-orange flame from the reaction pistol marked his companion's trail...'
Scheherazade, An Open Story Generator
'How can you compete with an IBM heavy-duty logomatic analogue?'
Sample The In Vitro Meat Cookbook
'I grabbed two Syntho-Steaks out of the freezer...'
'Diamond Nanothreads' Now, Someday Space Elevators?
'It is a continuous pseudo-one dimensional diamond crystal'
Erased Memories In A Flash Of Light
'Someone, probably at a government military-sciences lab, erased his conscious memories...'
'Artificial Spleen' Cleans The Blood
'The workability of wholly mechanical organs... '
Raffia, The Google Streetview Camel
The old and the new, together.
More SF in the News Stories
More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories