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 | 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 ")

Nifty New SDS Space Debris Sensor For ISS
'Their radars... could easily pinpoint the debris of the early Space Age.' Arthur C. Clarke, 1978.

NanoRacks Space Station Module Concept Validated
Space junk into space architecture.

Interstellar Asteroid Visits Our Solar System
'This asteroid had whirled in from the cold of the interplanetary space...' - Ray Cummings, 1930.

UM Hall Thruster Breaks Records
Someday, we'll see an ion drive used to get to Mars.

 

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.

 

 

 

 

 

Current News

Orwell's Memory Hole Looms Larger Thanks To Nvidia
'All history was a palimpsest, scraped clean and reinscribed exactly as often as was necessary.'

Pipefish Robot Checks Pipes Cheap
Just like capsule endoscopy, but for bigger pipes. That go underground.

Nifty New SDS Space Debris Sensor For ISS
'Their radars... could easily pinpoint the debris of the early Space Age.'

NanoRacks Space Station Module Concept Validated
Space junk into space architecture.

Nuclear Drones Could Fly For Years
'I sent my eyes on their rounds and tended my gallery of one hundred-thirty changing pictures...'

SciFiQ Science Fiction Writing Aid
'Books were just a commodity that had to be produced, like jam or bootlaces.'

Robot Only Faster, Not Better, At Recycling
'Whenever a robot finds something it can't identify straight off... it puts whatever it is in the hopper outside your window.'

Poland Starts With 1000 Warmate 'Suicide Drones'
'Royal Security had told the pods to electrocute you or blast you into chum.'

Dream Of Building Your Own Rocket?
Fiorello Bodoni, you inspire all of us.

Zero Mass 'Vaporators' Pull Drinking Water From The Air
Did you think of Star Wars?

Elon Musk Fears A 'Fleet-Wide Hack' Of Autonomous Vehicles
'Khan grinned. 'It's alive! Bu-wahhahahah!''

China Melts Tibetan Permafrost To Plant Forest
'Can you give us a microwave spotlight?'

iFlytek Doctor Robot First To Pass Medical Exams
Doctor shortage? No problem, we'll just use the autodoc.

Slaughterbot AI KIller Quadcopter Drones
'The real border was defended by... a swarm of quasi-independent aerostats.'

Do We Really Want Backflipping Robots?
Also includes wonderful blooper reel.

RNA-Based Biocomputing Device
Living things can sense and analyze complex signals in living cells.

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.