Protection for astronauts

Image: K. Anthony/CERN

The CERN Superconductors team in the Technology department is involved in the European Space Radiation Superconducting Shield (SR2S) project, which aims to demonstrate the feasibility of using superconducting magnetic shielding technology to protect astronauts from cosmic radiation in the space environment. The material that will be used in the superconductor coils on which the project is working is magnesium diboride (MgB2), the same type of conductor developed in the form of wire for CERN for the LHC High Luminosity Cold Powering project.Back in April 2014, the CERN Superconductors team announced a world-record current in an electrical transmission line using cables made of the MgB2 superconductor. This result proved that the technology could be used in the form of wire and could be a viable solution for both electrical transmission for accelerator technology and long-distance power transportation. Now, the MgB2 superconductor has found another application: it will soon be tested in a prototype coil that could provide the solution to ensure safe trips for astronauts during deep-space missions. The idea is to create an active magnetic field to shield the spacecraft from high-energy cosmic particles. “In the framework of this project, CERN is testing MgB2 tape in a configuration that has specifically been developed for the SR2S project by Columbus Superconductors,” explains Amalia Ballarino, Superconductors and Superconducting Devices section leader. … (CERN)

Image: K. Anthony/CERN

Image: K. Anthony/CERN

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