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I have just watched "Can We Make it to Mars?" , a Nova DVD from Netflix.    My focus of the several problems that hazzard space travel, are cosmic rays.  We here on earth are protected from cosmic rays via the magnetic field surrounding earth.  However, in a space ship, there is no protection and such rays are of concern to scientists.  My question is relative to the anticipated Ion engine (radio waves stimulating Argon gas to ionize, producing a speed that would allow the ship to get to Mars in 39 days instead of the 9 or so months).   The program stated that the ion engine would produce such high heat that it must be enclosed in a magnetic field.  If that is so, and the plan on testing such engine in space soon, why not extend the magnetic field to the entire ship to shield from cosmic rays?  Am I missing something vital here, or would such be possible?

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You would attract ionic particles which could be detrimental to the craft. Particularly at the speeds involved.

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I think the other problem is that cosmic rays have such high energy that it would be hard to generate a magnetic field strong enough to deflect them significantly.

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Cosmic rays may not be a serious problem.  The Apollo program did not concern itself with them.

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Posted (edited)
47 minutes ago, Strange said:

I think the other problem is that cosmic rays have such high energy that it would be hard to generate a magnetic field strong enough to deflect them significantly.

Would the magnetic field to protect from cosmic rays be any more powerful than the magnetic field they are talking about generating around the ionic engine?

19 minutes ago, mathematic said:

Cosmic rays may not be a serious problem.  The Apollo program did not concern itself with them.

According to the Nova presentation, cosmic rays are a serious problem, especially over the time of exposure that would be relative to a Mars mission.  

2 hours ago, Mordred said:

You would attract ionic particles which could be detrimental to the craft. Particularly at the speeds involved.

Why would a magnetic field attract ionic particles?  Does not the Earth's magnetic field deflect (redirect)them?

Edited by Bushranger

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45 minutes ago, Bushranger said:

Would the magnetic field to protect from cosmic rays be any more powerful than the magnetic field they are talking about generating around the ionic engine?

A magnetic field that surrounded the ship would require too much power to be feasible.

Cosmic rays were not an issue for Apollo because of the short amount time in space.  It will be an issue for a trip to mars.

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1 hour ago, Bushranger said:

Why would a magnetic field attract ionic particles?  Does not the Earth's magnetic field deflect (redirect)them?

In the same manner the Van Allen belt traps ionized particles 

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19 minutes ago, Bufofrog said:

A magnetic field that surrounded the ship would require too much power to be feasible.

Cosmic rays were not an issue for Apollo because of the short amount time in space.  It will be an issue for a trip to mars.

It certainly would. What needs to be looked at is material etc that can deflect or absorb cosmic and/or galactic radiation. Not sure if such protection is as yet viable, but they must be working already on such a project. Which to my way of thinking illustrates the importance of such branches of science as Nanotechnology. 

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Good link better than the second example I was going to post. Needless to say these studies are well underway and is highly detailed on pros and cons of each alternative 

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1 hour ago, Bufofrog said:

A magnetic field that surrounded the ship would require too much power to be feasible.

Cosmic rays were not an issue for Apollo because of the short amount time in space.  It will be an issue for a trip to mars.

They are talking about generating a magnetic field to contain the heat generated by the ion engine...where will the get the power to do that?

There have been astronauts/cosmonauts in the international space station for over a year at a time.  Nevertheless, the effect of cosmic rays is cumulative...that is the issue.  That is what I am concerned about.  It would seem that the issue of cosmic rays will need to be addressed before any lengthy trips in space are attempted, including Mars inasmuch as they will undoubtedly stay for awhile ( the astronauts will be subjected to cosmic rays on Mars as well as in transit), before coming back...two and one half years?

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41 minutes ago, Mordred said:

Good link better than the second example I was going to post. Needless to say these studies are well underway and is highly detailed on pros and cons of each alternative 

Good to see you back in the swing of things.

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7 hours ago, Bushranger said:

They are talking about generating a magnetic field to contain the heat generated by the ion engine...where will the get the power to do that?

 ( the astronauts will be subjected to cosmic rays on Mars as well as in transit), before coming back...two and one half years?

I imagine the power needed to contain heat from the engine compared to shielding for you craft would be huge

also, if this ion engine can get to Mars in 39 days then you could do the whole thing in under 3 months. So you wont be exposed to as much Cosmic radiation 

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7 hours ago, Curious layman said:

I imagine the power needed to contain heat from the engine compared to shielding for you craft would be huge

also, if this ion engine can get to Mars in 39 days then you could do the whole thing in under 3 months. So you wont be exposed to as much Cosmic radiation 

I do not remember where I read it, but some of the astronauts missed a massive wave of radiation by a few days.  Those radiation storms are not the same as the constant radiation exposure on a typical space venture.  They can come at anytime, would be devastating to the human body in a single exposure.

 

Aside from that, the short exposure of the apollo astronauts seems to have had negative effects that were worse than anticipated.

https://observer.com/2016/07/space-radiation-devastated-the-lives-of-apollo-astronauts/

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