Monday, July 17, 2006

 

Plasma Shield

Instead of inches of metal, the crew of an interplanetary craft could be protected from cosmic rays by a bubble of
plasma?
The details still need to be worked out, but the basic approach is clear. A high voltage device on the spacecraft would tear the hydrogen into its constituent protons and electrons. This plasma would then be spewed out into space, creating a cloud around the spacecraft.

There would need to be a wire mesh outside the spacecraft and enclosing the plasma cloud. Electricity supplied to the mesh would keep an electrical current running in the plasma cloud and help confined it near the spacecraft.

The plasma's magnetic field would be a powerful deflector of cosmic rays, equivalent to aluminium shielding several inches thick, Slough says.
This is a notion I don't think I've seen before. I dig it.

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