Space shield to block radiation

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Scientists at the Royal Astronomical Society’s National Astronomy Meeting in Preston, UK are debating whether a Star-Trek-like deflector shield is feasible to protect astronauts from cancer-causing radiation from cosmic rays and solar flares. The shield would be magnetically generated and filled with ionised plasma gas. As the energy particles interact with the plasma they’d have the energy damped down to the point where they couldn’t damage the astronauts. “You don’t need much of a magnetic field to hold off the solar wind. You could produce the shield 20-30 kilometres away from the spacecraft,” explained Dr Ruth Bamford, from the Rutherford-Appleton Laboratory in Didcot, UK, one of the scientists on the team. [GT]

Space shield to block radiation

Gabrielle Taylor