In the last half-century, humans have set foot on the moon and, as a result, deep space travel seems to be within Humanity's reach. However, there are many issues that must be resolved before space travel to other objects in the solar system can become a reality. Examples of these issues include radiation in space, physiological effects of zero gravity, power generation, and propulsion methods.
In this paper we put forward a novel proposal that can mitigate the dangers that radiation can pose to space travel. The basic idea behind this proposal is the use of Near Earth Objects (NEOs) as a temporary shelter from radiation for astronauts on deep space missions, like a voyage to Mars.
Just as fire can be both dangerous and beneficial, the NEOs that pose a danger to Humanity on Earth can be used as "Celestial chariots." By protecting the astronauts from radiation, and providing spacious housing and storage facilities, long journeys into deep space become possible.
We begin with a general overview of radiation in space and its effects on exposed humans. Various strategies to protect astronauts from these harmful effects are then described. We concentrate on the use of NEOs a radiation shields, and we put forth a proposal using them on a trip to Mars and the feasibility of such a proposal. We conclude by discussing ideas that, if realized, would greatly increase the likelihood and the benefit of NEOs as radiation shields.
To examine this idea in detail, one has to choose the most suitable NEO out of the ten thousand known that could be utilized to travel between Earth and Mars. The chosen NEO must be of sufficient size and material to properly shield its cargo of humans and supplies from the radiation in space. In addition, we examine the possibility of "domesticating" an asteroid by manipulating its orbit. To protect the astronauts on their journey, a habitat can be built in the NEO in which a manned crew would ride safely from Earth to Mars. The crew would then exit the NEO upon approaching Mars.
We believe humanity is on verge of new era in which humans will expand their habitat to other celestial bodies. The advent of this new era is driven by the combination of human curiosity and drive to insure human survival. Radiation poses one of the greatest threats to the successful expansion of our race throughout the solar system and beyond.
Without proper protection from this hazard, future space travelers may either die or be genetically altered. This paper put forward the idea that the use of NEOs is a possible solution for protecting humans against radiation en route to a new planet or celestial object.