(Image Credit: Lucas Films, Star Wars)

(Hat Tip: Space Elevator Reference)

Humanities greatest hurdle towards colonizing our solar system ironically comes the very objects our terrestrial worlds orbit. Whether it be from the Sun itself, or a Jovian parent, radiation can severely limit our ability to populate the Sol star system.

Now it seems that some researchers are attempting to remove this stumbling block, by seeking out ways to create artificial magnetic fields for not only star ships, but space colonies as well.

(SpaceRef) On the surface of the Earth we are protected from radiation by the thick layers of the atmosphere. And the terrestrial magnetic field extends far into space, acting as a natural ‘force field’ to further protect our planet and deflecting the worst of the energetic particles from the Sun by creating a ‘plasma barrier’.

Now scientists at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory in Oxfordshire plan to mimic nature. They will build a miniature magnetosphere in a laboratory to see if a deflector shield can be used to protect humans living on space craft and in bases on the Moon or Mars.

In order to work, an artificial mini-magnetosphere on a space craft will need to utilise many cutting edge technologies, such as superconductors and the magnetic confinement techniques used in nuclear fusion.

Creating such a field will enable our species to actually live above the lunar and Martian surface, avoiding the deadly radition that bathes our star system. Although this technology is still in its development, it spells out much promise for our race, as it would enable us to build settlements based on nearby research and resources, instead of “radiation havens.”

Some day we may even be able to create artificial magnetic fields around worlds where such fields are lacking, enabling us to not only live upon these worlds, but raise up children (and animals) upon them too.

Note: These fields, coupled with Ballutes could make the space elevator a whole lot more attractive towards humans.

Update (4/24): It looks like scientists are developing cloaking devices too.

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