NASA Revisiting Magnetic Shield Assumptions, Could Force Fields Happen?

Posted by on July 29th, 2010

A Portuguese professor believes force fields enveloping space ships that take us to Mars could be a reality.

…a mini-magnetosphere stretching a few hundred metres beyond the craft could be used in conjunction with the heavy shields that would stop neutral and high-energy radiation from frying the astronauts. “If you go out in the rain, you can wear a coat – but you can also carry an umbrella,” she says. “That’s what a mini-magnetosphere is – a plasma umbrella held up by magnetic fields. Even if it screened only 50 per cent of the solar particles, it could still help protect a big-mass shield, enabling it to be lighter,” she says. That would allow the craft to carry less fuel.

Bamford is in talks with the European Space Agency and NASA about the possibilities her team’s experiment raises, though she can’t give many details at this stage. “There are confidentiality and patent issues,” she says. What she will say is that NASA agrees that the old assumptions about the limits of magnetic shielding need to be revisited. “They want to work with us on this – a solution to their biggest problem with crewed exploration of space.”


[New Scientist]

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