New space radiation shields invented

Discussion in 'Current Events' started by King Cobra, May 28, 2004.

  1. King Cobra macrumors 603

    Mar 2, 2002
    Full article

    NASA researchers are working hard to find their way around space radiation, a hazard future astronauts can't avoid if they hope to fly on long missions to Mars and eventually set foot on its surface.

    Much of their focus is on new and better shielding materials to slap on the outer surface of a spacecraft, since the traditional aluminum shells won't cut it during a multiyear mission.

    But some scientists are also looking at alternative approaches to safeguard astronauts, ranging from the use of electric fields that create a protective shell around a spacecraft to basic ship design, and even new spacesuits for the exploration of the Martian landscape.
  2. musicpyrite macrumors 68000


    Jan 6, 2004
    Cape Cod
    duh! NASA - "Nahhhh, its fine just use the 1970 era space suits. There only 30 yers old."

    Man, NASA needs way more funding. (and I know where to get it ;) :eek: :D )

    oh, the bit about the radiation thingy, couldn't they just cover the outside of the space craft with like 4 feet of lead?

    [joke. like haha or hoho or lol]
  3. wdlove macrumors P6


    Oct 20, 2002
    It's about time that they upgrade radiation shields. Hopefully the shield work will also include computers. They will certainly need the use of faster processors. Maybe they can move up to at least a G4.
  4. Zion Grail macrumors regular

    Dec 24, 2002
    Hey... waitaminute...

    Doesn't that mean they'll get to say "shields up" and have it mean something? ;) Damn, I never thought I'd live to see the day. :D
  5. Thomas Veil macrumors 68020

    Thomas Veil

    Feb 14, 2004
    Seems to me the Jupiter 2 had a pretty good force field as well. Too bad Irwin Allen's dead so we can't ask him how he did it. ;)
  6. Abstract macrumors Penryn


    Dec 27, 2002
    Location Location Location
    Retro. Is. IN!

    *grabs his Puma spacesuit*
  7. MyLeftNut macrumors regular

    Dec 15, 2002
    Melbourne, Australia
  8. Daveman Deluxe macrumors 68000

    Daveman Deluxe

    Jun 17, 2003
    Corvallis, Oregon
    It's tough to use fast processors in space because the gate oxides need to be so damned thick... with thin gate oxides, a stray radiation particle can too easily change the state of the gate. I think the fastest processor up in space right now is a modified PPC 750cx running at 133 MHz.

    Of course, cooling isn't much of a problem in space. :p
  9. MongoTheGeek macrumors 68040


    Sep 13, 2003
    Its not so much where you are as when you are.
    cooling is a big problem because if you are in the sun you are super hot and out of the sun its really really cold. Thermal stresses are a big issue.

    As for dealing with radiation affecting the gates you could do a consensus model. Replace each gate with 3 in parallel. I know its a bit more complicated but it should do the job.
  10. Mr. Anderson Moderator emeritus

    Mr. Anderson

    Nov 1, 2001
    Electrostatic shielding is fine, but it does require a power source. If that fails, you lose the radiation protection. I think the best system would be a redundant one that includes electrostatic and traditional (ablative or special hull coating) so that you better safe guard the lives of the astronauts on a multi year mission to Mars or elsewhere.

  11. MacBandit macrumors 604


    Aug 9, 2002
    Springfield, OR (Home of the Simpsons)
    Damn it Scotty where are the shields????????!!!!!!!!! :eek:
  12. KingSleaze macrumors 6502

    Feb 24, 2004
    So. Cal
    My understanding was that the best up there right now was a variant of the PPC 603e (on the Mars Rovers Spirit and Opportunity).

    I am aware that many aerospace companies test the chips (artificially aging them) in a radiation field, to verify lifetime, prior to putting them into an actual vehicle.

    Lead is a wonderful shielding material, unfortunately getting it up the gravity well makes it expensive. Getting that much mass accelerated requires a prohibitive amount of fuel as well, adding to the mass.....vicious cycle. Time to start the lead mine on the moon, and use an electromagnetic railgun to put it in orbit.
  13. BornAgainMac macrumors 603


    Feb 4, 2004
    Florida Resident
    Radiation and the Klingons

    We will need shields when we have to deal with those pesky Klingons.

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