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 ")

How Many Systems In That Galactic Empire Now?
'An Empire to twenty million stellar systems...'- Isaac Asimov, 1953.

Britain To Build Spaceport, First In Europe
'The space-ports at the three great cities...'- Breuer/Williamson, 1930.

Testing New Spacesuits In 1929 And 2015
'I'm going to pump the air from this room... so that the interior will be like airless and pressure-less space.'- Otto Willi Gail, 1929.

Space Station Kitchens 1929 and 2015
'Plates and cups ... slowly floated down to the floor and were not broken.'- Otto Willi Gail, 1929.

 

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

eMotionButterfly Ultralight Robot From Festo
'Artificial butterflies darted along invisible beams...'

Graphene Cytobot - Cyborg Bacterial Spores May Help Astronauts
'[It] had not yet objected to being made over into a portion of an electronic system... '

XM82 Personal Flamethrower Now In Development
'Skeletons in tatters. Burned by a flesh gun'

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...'

3D Printing 'Terminator T-1000-Style'
Not quite 'a mimetic polyalloy...'

Norlin Shoe Drone Robot UAV In-Store Delivery Thing
'Robot-salesmen were everywhere, gesturing, pleading, shrilling.'

Bridge-MINDER Repair Robot
'The repair robots had started out on their rounds...'

Super Ball Bot Tensegrity Robot For Solar System Exploration
'Each leg in turn acted as a pivot around which the creature whirled its body...'

iSkin On-Body Touch Sensors
'Three rows of four colored dots appeared on the heel of my left hand.'

Britain To Build Spaceport, First In Europe
'The space-ports at the three great cities...'

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.