[ExI] Will cosmic rays stop human space travel? (BillK)

Stuart LaForge avant at sollegro.com
Thu May 28 08:46:48 UTC 2015

Maybe I am missing something obvious here, but if the problem is high energy charged particle radiation like protons, then why not just give the spacecraft a magnetic field?

If the earth's magnetosphere is sufficient to protect the ISS, then some neodynium magnets stuck around the hull should be enough. After all, the earth's magnetic field is about 100 times weaker than a typical  refrigerator magnet at the earth's surface and should fall off inverse square-wise out where it matters.

Now I get that the earth's mag field is huge giving lots room for deflection but the deflecting force is proportional to the strength of the field times the velocity of the incoming particle. And cosmic rays move pretty darn fast.

One would only need to use a magnet sufficiently strong to get the cosmic rays to travel in a circular orbit with a radius somewhat larger than the spacecraft. I am sure there are subtleties and complications involved but compared to tokamak plasma confinement, the geometry should be a breeze. After all you don't need all the cosmic rays to travel the same circular path.

Come to think of it, a shell of high energy plasma surrounding a ship might help protect the hull from large dust grains and micrometeors the ship might encounter.

Just a thought. I would hate to think we would be trapped on earth for the lack of trying an obvious idea. Especially with so many new propulsion schemes in the works, many of which are plasma and magnetohydrodynamically based.

Stuart LaForge

Sent from my phone.

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