Thursday, November 13, 2008

Raise Shields!

Via Paul McAuley, a piece on Universe Today stating:
UK scientists working at Rutherford Appleton Laboratory near Oxford and the universities of York and Strathclyde have tested a "mini-magnetosphere" enveloping a model spacecraft in the lab. It turns out that their prototype offers almost total protection against high energy solar particles.
Deflector shields are a reality. Awesome.


Anonymous said...

What I really want to know is -- what does that model spacecraft they're using look like? The Enterprise? X-Wing Fighter? Borg Cube?


Lou Anders said...

Good question. You know, I've always maintained that the Enterprise will exist one day, if for no other reason than some future space-fairing fan will build it. There are dozens of privately-owned, fan-built batmobiles around, after all.

Jeff said...

Look at the work by Dr Winglee at University of Washington (M2P2 or Plasma Sail..)

This started as a lightweight way to protect any Mars mission without prohibative weight of lead shielding...

Since the solar wind is made up of charged particals which have mass, what happens to the ship fielding the magitospere?

Dr. Winglee's initial calulations indicated that the ship would get momentum from the soar wind... lots of it!

What started as a way to shield the mission from the solar wind may become the main drive...