Deflector shield

Deflector shield

A deflector shield is a form of energy shield intended to protect space travellers from charged particles that might otherwise pose cancer or genetic risks.

Initially, this was entirely a concept of speculation and fiction, as with the deflector dish used by Federation starships in the fictional Star Trek universe.

Recently, though, groups have begun research on building actual deflector fields to protect NASA astronauts travelling to the Moon or Mars.

A University of Washington in Seattle group, lead by John Slough, has been experimenting with using a bubble of charged plasma to surround a spacecraft, contained by a fine mesh of superconducting wire. [ [ Plasma bubble could protect astronauts on Mars trip - space - 17 July 2006 - New Scientist Space ] ]

Likewise, Rutherford Appleton Laboratory is attempting to design an actual test satellite, which should orbit Earth with a charged plasma field around it. [ [ 'Deflector' shields could protect future astronauts - space - 18 April 2007 - New Scientist Space ] ] By the end of 2007, they hope to have tested the concept in a 4 meter-long vacuum chamber.

Popular Culture

*: Plasma based deflector shields are a common defense for Covenant warships and personnel.
*StarCraft/StarCraft II: Protoss have deflectors of concentrated psychic energy on absolutely everything. The Terran Science Vessel can project a "defensive matrix" on any unit, which negates all but the smallest bit of shrapnel, resulting in only one hitpoint lost per attack.
*Stargate: Energy-based shields that encompass entire ships from various races capable of withstanding both projectile and energy weapons as well as solar radiation and even water. Generally, the effectiveness of a shield is directly proportional to the amount of energy provided to it. The most powerful shields are those created by the Ancients, Asgard, and Ori with the most powerful one being the shield of Atlantis. Personal energy shields also exist but vary from culture to culture.
*Star Trek and spinoffs: Although the shields were initially portrayed as performing this function as an extension of existing scientific concepts, it is suggested in later incarnations that technology has advanced to a point where standard hull plating protects inhabitants from dangers such as radiation. Deflector shields remain standard for absorbing incoming fire from energy weapons such as phasers however.
*Star Wars: Deflectors are standard issue on most ships and perform a function similar to that of their Star Trek counterparts.
*: Allied Jeeps have deflectors on them
*Super Smash Bros. series Move used by Fox McCloud

* Supreme Commander Used by all three factions UEF, Aeon and Cybran. Each race's shield generators can be upgraded to increase its defence and radius of energy. This is most likely a form of charged ions or plasma in a spherical form.


Further reading

*D. Andrews, “Things To Do While Coasting Through Interstellar Space,” AIAA-2004-3706, 40th AIAA/ASME/SAE/ASEE Joint Propulsion Conference and Exhibit, Fort Lauderdale, Florida, July 11-14, 2004.
* A.R. Martin, “Bombardment by Interstellar Material and Its Effects on the Vehicle,” Project Daedalus Final Report (Journal of the British Interplanetary Society, 1978): S116–S121.

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