Undergrad Proposes Asteroids As Radiation Shields

NASA is funding a study to see if it might be possible to use asteroids traveling between the orbits of Earth and Mars to shelter spacecraft from radiation. The study is the brainchild of Daniella Della-Giustina, engineering physics undergrad - and maybe science fiction writer Arthur C. Clarke.


(Daniella Della-Giustina and meteor)

Della-Giustina is one of five people to receive NASA's Advanced Concepts Student Fellows Prize this year. Her project is titled "The Martian Bus Schedule: An Innovative Technique for Protecting Humans on a Journey to Mars."

She will investigate two possibilities. The first involves spacecraft actually hitching a ride on asteroids that cross the orbits of both Earth and Mars; astronauts could mine various resources from the asteroid during their journey.

The second possibility is that the asteroid could be used as a "sunshade." Astronauts would travel in the shadow of the meteor for as long as possible; astronauts could visit the asteroid on short space walks.

Which brings us to Arthur C. Clarke. His short story Summertime on Icarus was published in 1960; it describes a method for getting a research ship closer to the sun than ever before using a comet:

Everything had been carefully planned, years in advance, as part of the International Astrophysical Decade. Here was a unique opportunity for a research ship to get within a mere seventeen million miles of the sun, protected from it's fury by a two-mile-thick shield of rock and iron. In the shadow of Icarus, the ship could ride safely round the central fire which warmed all the planets, and upon which the existence of all life depended.

This is not the first time NASA has investigated ideas for radiation shielding proposed by science fiction writers; see NASA's New Radiation Shielding First Proposed By John W. Campbell In 1936.

Read more about Della-Giustina and her project here and here; thanks to Fred and Winchell for suggesting this story.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 10/25/2006)

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 ( 5 )

Related News Stories - (" Space Tech ")

Flock Of Minisats Will Image The Earth
'We... dropped roughly a thousand eyes on Beta Hydri IV.'- Robert Silverberg, 1969.

The Manned Maneuvering Unit Story
'Little spurts of red-orange flame from the reaction pistol marked his companion's trail...'- Gordon A. Giles, 1937.

Bigelow's Inflatable BEAM Module Ready For ISS In 2015
'The bubble had inflatable seats and an inflatable table...'- Larry Niven, 1994.

Torpor Inducing Transfer Habitats Sleeping Your Way To Mars!
'Somnolents require about one per cent the living room needed by active, functioning humans...'- Robert Heinlein, 1941.

 

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

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.'

Should Robots Have Civil Rights?
'I've seen things... you people wouldn't believe...'

Robert Heinlein, Your Self-Driving Car Is Almost Ready!
'Mary Risling settled back for a little nap...'

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...'

Erased Memories In A Flash Of Light
'Someone, probably at a government military-sciences lab, erased his conscious memories...'

'Diamond Nanothreads' Now, Someday Space Elevators?
'It is a continuous pseudo-one dimensional diamond crystal'

'Artificial Spleen' Cleans The Blood
'The workability of wholly mechanical organs... '

Raffia, The Google Streetview Camel
The old and the new, together.

It's Boonta Eve! You Can Podrace With Drones
Thank the Hutts.

Leia Display System - Our Only Hope?
'Lilo and Vaffa moved through a maze of floating advertisements of ghostsmoke and holomist...'

A Bloody Rare Vegan Burger
For that real punched in the face feeling.

Bigelow's Inflatable BEAM Module Ready For ISS In 2015
'The bubble had inflatable seats and an inflatable table...'

Toshiba's Lifelike Communication Android
'How would you like to own an owl?'

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.