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Though dust has hardly settled on NASA’s triumphant budget increase doled out by members of Congress this month, the agency is already hard at work proving it deserves the extra funding. Its next order of business? Heed Congress’ instruction to develop a sufficient prototype model of a deep space habitat by no later than 2018. For those glancing at the calendar, 2018 is just two short years away, meaning NASA has roughly 730 days to show off what could likely shape deep space travel for dozens of decades. No pressure.
As high as these stakes sound to non-rocket scientists, NASA likely took Congress’ urging in stride considering the agency’s momentous 2015 is solely responsible for the increase in funding. Packaged inside the budget given to the Advanced Exploration Systems program — which will receive $350 million in 2016 — NASA’s deep space habitat prototype has roughly $55 million of funding to work with. The hope is that by the late 2020s, full-fledged cislunar (between Earth and the moon) testing of a capable habitat will be possible, and by 2030, human missions to Mars will be able to launch from it.
NASA International Space Station director Sam Scimemi envisions habituation testing (as well as testing of other essential space tech) to take place during what he calls a “shakedown cruise” in cislunar space. This extensive testing, he hopes, should provide enough proof NASA is able to develop a proficient model for long-duration, human-led missions to Mars. According to Scimemi, this idea is “our big objective for cislunar space for human spaceflight.”
originally posted by: glend
I like it. Guessing part of the money will also go towards developing a superconducting magnetic shield to protect astronauts from suns radiation and cosmic rays,
A bunch of people really, really want to go to the Red Planet on the proposed one-way Mars One trip; more than 1,000 applicants are being considered in Round 2 selections. They will face, however, more radiation during their journey that could put them at higher risk of cancers down the road. While the solution could be to add more shielding to a spacecraft, that’s both heavy and expensive.
Enter the alternative: a magnetic field. A group calling itself the EU Project Space Radiation Superconductive Shield says their technology will “solve the issue of radiation protection in three years” and is seeking academic collaborations to make that happen. Here’s how it will work:
“The SR2S superconducting shield will provide an intense magnetic field, 3,000 times stronger than the Earth’s magnetic field and will be confined around the space craft,” a press release states.
“The magnetic fields will extend to about 10 metres in diameter and ionizing particles will be deflected away. Only the most energetic particles will penetrate the superconducting shield, but these will contribute the least to the absorbed radiation dose as their flux is negligible. This will address the issue of suitability of people for space travel as it will open up eligibility for space travel regardless of gender.”