Paper Session I-A - Magnetic Shielding For Interplanetary Spacecraft

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Herring, Stephen; Merrill, Brad J.
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The protection of spacecraft crews from the radiation produced by high energy electrons, protons and heavier ions in the space environment is a major health concern on long duration missions.Conventional approaches to radiation shielding in space have relied on thicker spacecraft walls to stop the high energy charged particles and to absorb the resulting gamma and bremsstrahlung photons. The shielding concept described here uses superconducting magnets to deflect charged particles before they collide with the spacecraft, thus avoiding the production of secondary particles. A number of spacecraft configurations and sizes have been analyzed, ranging from a small 'storm cellar' for use during solar flares to continuous shielding for space stations having a crew of 15-25. The effectiveness of the magnetic shielding has been analyzed using a Monte Carlo program with incident proton energies from 0.5 to 1000 MeV. Typically the shield deflects 35-99 percent of the incident particles, depending, of course on particle energy and magnetic field strength.Further evaluation studies have been performed to assess weight comparisons between magnetic and conventional shielding; to determine magnet current distributions which minimize the magnetic field within the spacecraft itself; and to assess the potential role of ceramic superconductors.