Use of Local Magnetic Fields to Protect Space Habitation

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Solar and cosmic radiation are a major threat to human activity in space. Life on Earth is protected by Earth's magnetic field which deflects high energy particles from the solar wind and other cosmic sources. It should be possible to incorporate a conductive coil in the construction or lining of a cylindrical space vehicle or habitat, creating in effect a large solenoid, when with a few milliamperes of current, would generate a magnetic field comparable to our earthly protection of around .05 microT to surround the space habitat and likewise deflect harmful radiation in the same manner as Mother Earth. (See Fig. 1.)

One way to accomplish this is to use a thin plastic film one foot in width printed with conductive strips spaced 0.1 inch apart. This could be laid up around the circumference of the interior wall of a cylindrical habitat just like wallpaper. A coil can be created by using a pitch of 0.1 inch for each circumferential wrap connecting the end of row one conductive strip with row 2, row 2 with 3, 3 with 4, etc. so that the row 10 conductor is open to connect with row 1 of the next mylar strip to be laid around at a pitch of 0.1 inch connected in the same manner as strip one and continue in this manner for the entire interior length of the cylindrical structure. (See Fig. 2.) Such a coil in a 30' dia. x 50' long cylinder would have 18,000 turns - an inductance of 536 Henrys! H, field intensity, is a function of turns and current, I. Thus H = 49.5(I/meter). For a field density, B of .05 microTesla equal to Earth, you only need current = 0.8 milliamps! Now 18k turns of a conductor at a diameter of 30 feet each means a total length of the conductor is 5.1 million feet. It may be possible to get a conductance equivalent to 26 awg wire at 20 ohms/1000' for a total conductive resistance of 102Kohms. Only 80 volts DC and 64 milliwatts of power would be needed to reach our target field density of .05microT. Would the term "no-brainer" be appropriate?


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  • Name:
    Jeffrey Schmidt
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