A group of young professionals from Drake University in Iowa (USA) is developing a magnetic shield designed to protect from exposure to lethal levels of cosmic radiation when flying in the outer space, for example, on the same Mars. Their project MISSFIT (Magneto-Ionization Spacecraft for Interplanetary Travel Shield, Shield of the spacecraft with magneto-ionization for interplanetary travel) involves the installation on the spacecraft’s powerful magnetic shield, which, like magnetosphere to protect astronauts from high-energy particles, according to the portal Space.com
In addition, the security system includes passive shielding to simulate the ionosphere’s second layer of protection of the Earth.
With little financial support aerospace Agency NASA, the students developed a prototype security installations already carried out tests and experiments on passive shielding, which will protect astronauts from the effects of highly charged gamma rays. The goal of the project is to solve the key problem of security, which retains a potential NASA mission to Mars: long-term effects of interplanetary radiation.
Currently, the group is experimenting with a number of radiation-blocking fabrics that can be light enough for installation on the spacecraft.
“We vozdeistviem on these tissues to radiation. Then count how many particles the layers of fabric could block,” says one of the developers of the project MISSFIT.
According to the experimenters, this long process of data collection and statistical analysis will help determine the most effective material, which it would be appropriate to cover the spaceship. But the fabric in this defense is not the most important.
Students guess the possible spacecraft NASA, associated with Mars, will be more or less long cylinder that rotates to create artificial gravity.
“To the ends of the capsules we offer to install two superconducting magnet, which will provide two compact nuclear reactor”, — said the developers.
Magnets will not deflect gamma rays. But they can get charged alpha particles — another component of cosmic rays, which upon irradiation of the spacecraft will create x-rays. They will move to the ends of the spacecraft, which will be closed two “domes” of material filled with a mixture of ionized gas that simulates the Earth’s ionosphere.
When passing through this ionized gas, an alpha particle will lose energy in the process, similar to what creates the Aurora in the ionosphere near the North and South poles of the Earth. The developers are not yet sure how powerful must be the magnets, but I think, the necessary power can provide small nuclear reactors (by the way, the development of such installations is already underway).
Diagram of the nuclear magnetic shield MISSFIT
Within a couple of years, the group of developers of nuclear magnetic protection of spacecraft for deep space flight is going to publish complete information about their project and hopes to obtain additional grants to continue development.
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