Force Fields

All matter is made of atoms.  Atoms are bound by forces.  Take away atoms.  Leave the forces behind.  That’s a force field.

Well, at least that’s a force field in science fiction.  It’s a concept we all know and love.  It’s what happens when bug-eyed monsters, rogue asteroids, or a newly severed limb of Darth Vader are winging our way.  Just slap up a force field projector and pour a pan-galactic gargle blaster.  Job done.

The first force field found its way into fiction with EE ‘Doc’ Smith’s Skylark and Lensman books in the 1930s and 40s.  A more modern version is the ‘deflector’ on the Enterprise in Star Trek.

The truth is more problematic.  As yet there is no known force capable of repelling all objects and energies.  But we’re working on it.

Scientists at NASA’s Kennedy Space Centre and the NASA Institute for Advanced Concepts are researching the possibility of electric shields for Moon bases.  Most of the deadly radiation in space is made up of electrically charged particles. So why not use a powerful electric field that has the same charge as the incoming radiation, thus deflecting the radiation away?

Now that’s a force field.

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