October 23, 2006
Hitchin' a Ride

Problem: Astronauts heading to Mars risk exposure to deadly radiation. Shielding is heavy, and therefore expensive, if launched from Earth.

Solution: Grab some shielding that's already out there.

While burrowing into and grabbing material from asteriods for shielding is all well and good, I wonder why a ship couldn't just hide in the shadow of one of these asteroids? Must be missing something, or the asteroids are a lot smaller than I'm visualizing.

Posted by scott at October 23, 2006 03:32 PM

eMail this entry!

I think the radiation is somewhat omnidirectional (mostly directional if you're in the view of the sun, but some bouncing off other large objects like the planets). That's likely why they're thinking of doing it this way.

Likely that and size. Or maybe it'd just take that much more fuel to maintain a constant position in the shadow.

Posted by: ronaprhys on October 23, 2006 04:07 PM

What about the Apollo moon landings of 1969-72. Those astronauts were outside the Earth's magnetic field.

Wasn't the Command Module and the LEM shielded from cosmic rays and similar radiation???

Posted by: Mark on October 23, 2006 07:29 PM

To an extent, yes. But I think the difference I think was the total amount of time they were outside of the Van Allen Belts. For a Mars mission, it'd be months (and years for the return trip) instead of days, no?

Posted by: ron on October 23, 2006 10:22 PM
Post a comment

Email Address:



Remember info?