Deep Space Radiation Shelter through Magnetic Shielding
Eastberg Persons, Lauren Elizabeth
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As human space exploration begins to reach beyond Earth for the first time in 50 years, we must prepare for the eventuality of long-duration missions outside the protection of Earth's magnetic field. In interplanetary space astronauts are exposed to highly energetic galactic cosmic radiation, most commonly in the range of 1-GeV protons. Present day shielding technologies are not sufficient to protect astronauts against such particles; as such, the following paper proposes an alternate method of creating deep space radiation shelters through the use of magnetic shielding. Using a series of circular superconducting loops arranged in the shape of a shell, a spacecraft of a given size can be protected by superimposing the magnetic fields of each of the loops. A protected volume can be created at the center of the shell by using two embedded shells of different radii and opposite current direction, causing the magnetic fields to cancel at the shells' center. Using an inner radius of 30 meters and an outer radius of 50 meters, capable of housing NASA's Lunar Orbital Platform-Gateway, different configurations were explored by altering the maximum current of each field, (using currents of 5x10⁵ and 1x10⁶ amps) and by altering the total number of loops in each hemisphere (using 8, 10, and 12 loop configurations.) The resulting analysis found that up to 75% of incoming particles can be deflected with a max current of 1x10⁶ amps using either the 10 loop or 12 loop configuration.