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"I believe in limited government, and the 20th century has been the century of government. The data is uniform. The government has failed at every single task it has set out to do, with the exception of waging war."
- Bart Kosko

Deflector Shield  
  A energy field used to shunt the energy of offensive weapons aside.  

...a brilliant red flash gave black space outside the viewport the temporary aspect of the surface of a sun... the proximity of the explosion nearly overrode the phototropic shielding.

Fresh explosions continued to flare close by despite Chewbacca's best efforts at evasion. On Solo's console a red warning light began to flash for attention.

"What's that?" Luke wondered nervously.

"We're losing a deflector shield," Solo informed him with the air of a main about to have a tooth pulled. Better strap yourselves back in..."

Artoo swayed back and forth under the concussion produced by increasingly powerful energy bursts against the ship's deflectors.

From Star Wars, by George Lucas.
Published by Del Rey in 1976
Additional resources -

See also the earlier reference to the idea of deflectors from a 1945 Murray Leinster short story.

It is interesting to note that at least some of the energy from the weapons being fired at the ship resulted in some change to the momentum of the ship itself. Compare this to defensive energy fields that completely absorb energy, rather than merely deflecting it (see Langston Field, from Mote in God's Eye by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle).

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Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from Star Wars
  More Ideas and Technology by George Lucas
  Tech news articles related to Star Wars
  Tech news articles related to works by George Lucas

Deflector Shield-related news articles:
  - ISS Smart SPHERES Operated By Remote Control From Earth

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