Solar storms' dangers would lessen on long space trips
Bamford et al
Deflector shields aren’t just for the starship Enterprise. One day, giant magnetic bubbles could protect spacecraft on long voyages.
By gathering charged particles floating through space, the bubbles could form a force field that flicks away radiation. If successful, the idea could offer scientists a solution to one of NASA’s stickiest problems: how to shield astronauts from harmful cosmic rays and solar eruptions.
Storms on the sun catapult charged particles into space at tremendous speeds, says plasma physicist Ruth Bamford of the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory in Didcot, England. “If you’re on a spaceship in transit to Mars,” she says, “these charged particles can smash through the hull and smash your DNA.”