Active Electrostatic Radiation Shielding For Space Craft

NASA is actively soliciting proposals for developing and validating active electrostatic radiation shielding to be used for protecting astronauts and space habitats in long duration human space missions.

The idea of using an electrostatic radiation shield has been around since at least the 1950's; an artist's conception of an electrostatic shield created from inflatable, conductive spheres about 5 meters across for a lunar base is shown below.

(Artistís concept of an electrostatic radiation shield
Image courtesy ASRC Aerospace. )

Rejecting passive shielding as too costly due to weight, NASA is looking carefully at active shielding this time.

Primary candidates for active shielding include but are not limited to: confined and unconfined magnetic fields requiring super-conducting magnets, plasma shields, and electrostatic shields. Recently, a journal publication (Adv. Space Res. 42 (2008) 1043) made a critical analysis and demonstrated why previous approaches of using electrostatic and magnetic radiation shielding were not feasible. Further it clearly established the feasibility proof-of-concept of electrostatic active shielding using the novel approach of quadruple configuration. The biggest advantage of active electrostatic radiation shielding is that by preventing ions from hitting the spacecraft, the unknown harmful biological effects of continuous long duration exposure to space radiation is significantly reduced (~ 70 %) for galactic cosmic rays (GCR) and for solar particle events (SPE), of great concern for radiation exposure, it is practically eliminated. It is believed that the best strategy for radiation protection and shielding for long duration human missions is to use electrostatic active radiation shielding while, in concert, taking the full advantage of the state-of-the-art evolutionary passive (material) shielding technologies for the much reduced and weaken radiation that may escape and hit the spacecraft.

SF fans have been treated to a variety of ideas relating to both active and passive shields on space craft. See the shield from Doc Smith's 1930 novel Skylark Three, the radiation shield from John W. Campbell's 1936 novel The Ultimate Weapon and the Langston Field from Niven and Pournelle's 1974 novel The Mote in God's Eye.

From spaceref via @nyrath.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 3/19/2011)

Follow this kind of news @Technovelgy.

| Email | RSS | Blog It | Stumble | | 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 ")

Manned Maneuvering Unit From 1984
'The glittering little rocket bolted to the black iron behind him.' - Jack Williamson, 1933.

Astronaut Gets Younger In Space
'So what we're looking for now is not an antibiotic - an anti-life drug - but an anti-agathic, an anti-death drug...' - James Blish, 1957.

Humanity Star LEO Advertisement?
'Everyone has noticed those enormous advertisements...' Jules Verne, 1889.

Bigelow Prepares Inflatable Lunar Hotel
'Suddenly, hitherto unheard-of sums of money became available for investment in civilian orbital stations.' - Carl Sagan, 1985.



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.






Current News

Dune Fans! Metal-Organic Frameworks Make Science Fiction Real
'Dew collectors,' he muttered, enchanted by the simple beauty of such a scheme.

Manned Maneuvering Unit From 1984
'The glittering little rocket bolted to the black iron behind him.'

Astronaut Gets Younger In Space
'So what we're looking for now is not an antibiotic - an anti-life drug - but an anti-agathic, an anti-death drug...'

Blockchain Used To Verify Election Results
'Any adult could punch into the phone his or her code, followed by a yes or no.'

IJOP Integrated Joint Operations Platform China's Minority Report?
'All day long the idiots babbled, imprisoned in their special high-backed chairs...'

HushMe Bluetooth Device Reinvents The Hush-A-Phone
'Talking into a hush-a-phone which he had plugged into the telephone jack...'

Ultrathin Brain Needle Developed At MIT
Putting drugs into a selected cubic millimeter within the living brain.

Tesla Semi Truck Now At Work
Why wait? Tesla Semi now hard at work.

Illustris: The Next Generation Of Universe Simulation
'This digital device was ... A machine able literally to contain the Universe Itself...'

Scaly Yet Soft Robotic Snake
Love those robotic sneks.

Cool Tinsley Lunar Unicycle Update
Great update of a timeless classic.

NASA's 'Armstrong' Soft Wearable Upper Extremity Garment
'Exact same articulation as your shoulder joint, and it holds your muscles out of the way...'

Kuri Robot Roams Your Home, Taking Pictures
'Small devices with cameras and sound equipment which could move freely...'

Tiny Rubbery Robot To Take 'Fantastic Voyage'
I think that I will wait for other volunteers for this one.

Svalbard Seed Vault (aka Doomsday Vault) Gets Upgrades
'But they existed in the Life Bank, as did virtually every plant and animal that existed on Old Earth.'

Disney Vyloo Robots With Personality
'Let's build robots with Genuine People Personalities...'

More SF in the News Stories

More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories

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

Copyright© Technovelgy LLC; all rights reserved.