NASA's New Radiation Shielding First Proposed By John W. Campbell In 1936
NASA engineers are working on a clever new idea for shielding astronauts from cosmic rays. If you put the tanks containing the fuel and water needed for the journey on the outside of the living space, they can be used for shielding. Just like science fiction writer John W. Campbell first proposed in 1936.
(From Shields Up! New Radiation Protection for Spacecraft and Astronauts)
Richard Wilkins, director of NASA's Center for Applied Radiation Research at Prairie View A & M University in Texas has conducted a study into liquid shield approaches. As he puts it
"In most [mission] scenarios, you need liquid hydrogen for fuel and you need water. And these are all considered materials that are particularly good for cosmic ray shielding."
The tests demonstrate that the atoms of liquid hydrogen provide an excellent screen against cosmic rays; they don't fragment into secondary particles like heavier elements (as would be the case with lead shielding). And the radiation from secondary particles can be just as harmful.
In 1936, the protagonists of John W. Campbell's The Ultimate Weapon found themselves in need of good shielding from blasts of radiation:
"You mean they bathed that ship in neutrons?"
"Shot it full of 'em. Just like our proton guns, only sending neutrons."
"Well, why weren't we killed too?"
"Water stops neutrons," Kendall said. "Figure it out."
"The rocket-water tanks - all around us... that saved us?"
See Shields Up! New Radiation Protection for Spacecraft and Astronauts for more information. (Thanks to Winchell Chung for the story idea.)
Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 5/27/2004)
Follow this kind of news @Technovelgy.
| Email | RSS | Blog It | Stumble | del.icio.us | Digg | Reddit |
you like to contribute a story tip?
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add
Comment/Join discussion ( 6 )
Related News Stories -
Laser-Powered Spacecraft To Explore The Solar System
'Whoever launched it fired a laser cannon... for about forty-five years, so the intruder would have a beam to travel on...'- Niven/Pournelle, 1974.
SKYLON Space Plane Gets Boost
'They were more airplane than spaceship...'- Robert Heinlein, 1951.
Europe's Cheops To Look For Habitable Planets
'I was near enough it now to set my automatic astronomical instruments to searching it for a habitable planet.'- Edmond Hamilton, 1936.
SpaceX Dragon First Private Craft To Dock With ISS
'Why, the ship wasn't a proper deep-space craft at all.'- Robert Heinlein, 1941.
Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!)
is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for
the Invention Category that interests
you, the Glossary, the Invention
Timeline, or see what's New.
PassivDom 3D Printed House - What If You Could Live Anywhere?
'The houses are prefabricated units...'
Breakthrough In Manufacture Of Red Blood Cells
This blood's for you!
Caihong Solar-Powered Drone 'Atmospheric Satellite'
'... placed in the wings of a plane to generate power from the light falling on that surface.'
NASA Wants Low Earth Orbit Wifi
'This was the center of Interplanetary Communications.'
Is Genetic Testing At Businesses A Bad Idea?
It's not a topic that fares well in science fiction movies-
Wearable Smart Jacket
He pressed the button in his sleeve communicator and snapped: 'Action stations!'
Store One Bit On One Atom
'...each individual molecule has a meaning.'
Fluorescent Bacteria Fashion
'The racks of gowns itched and quivered, their colors running into blurred pools.'
Keith Laumer's Bolo Autonomous Tanks Right On Schedule
'I cannot lie idle under attack.'
When Computers Develop Their Own Language, Will They Talk To Us?
'The curious absent look of a robot talking on the TBR circuits - the Talk Between Robots radio...'
LipNet Reads Lips - Until Disconnected, That Is
'We'd have to cut his higher brain functions... I'm not sure what [HAL} would think about that.'
Eterni.me - To Skype With The Dead
'Nothing... left of Jeserac but a galaxy of electrons frozen in the heart of a crystal.'
Wearable MRI Is Former Occulus/Facebook Exec's New Project
'Your cephalochromoscope... that you always turn on and play when you get home...'
Ford Stratasys Infinte Build 3D Printer
'He proudly indicated his Buick... Almost as good as the original it was printed from...'
The Space Suit As Personal Spaceship
'Darn clever, these suits...'
Dune Fans! Your God Emperor Is Ready
'If one held a sandtrout in the hand, smoothing it over your skin, it formed a living glove.'
More SF in the News Stories
More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories