Friday, November 21, 2008

Star Trek Deflector Shields – A reality?

In a new article post on by Clara Moskowitz, she writes about a old/new idea that might actually be close to reality now with some recent tests done. In Star Trek, the starship is protected by its deflector shields. Radiation and small space debris are deflected from the ships path through outer space.

Now a new study by Ruth Bamford of the Science and Technology Facilities, Rutherford Appleton Laboratory in Great Britain; has found that it is possible to create a portable magnetic shield to protect astronauts on long-duration space missions. A future space ship could be fitted out with a tiny magnetosphere that would re-direct the harmful charged particles in the solar wind around the ship and thus, protecting the crew inside. Bamford and her colleagues tested their theories with miniature plasma fields in the laboratory that mimic the charged particles that the sun generates. The nuts and bolt engineering for the deflector still need to be work out, but the technique shows promise.

Ruth Bamford published her findings in the November 4th issue of the journal Plasma Physics and Controlled Fusion. The protons coming off of the solar wind are the greatest concern for the long term health of the astronauts because the particles are large enough to break down their DNA. Bamford reported that if there was a Apollo mission between Apollo 16 and 17, that flight would have been a fatal one for the crew.

Ref. November 19, 2008 ( ). Article written by Clara Moskowitz. Entitled “Star Trek Deflector Shield Envisioned for Mars Mission.”

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