(New Scientist Space) [H]umans might not survive thanks to the whopping dose of ionising radiation they would receive travelling through the core of the Van Allen radiation belts around Earth. These are two concentric rings of charged particles trapped by Earth's magnetic fields.
"They would die on the way through the radiation belts if they were unshielded," says Anders Jorgensen, author of a new study on the subject and a technical staff member at Los Alamos National Laboratory, New Mexico, US.
Several options have been proposed to deal with this, such as moving the base station away from the equator, uploading a magnetic field and last, redesigning the lifter to incorporate shielding (which would make it five times heavier). LiftPort (a space elevator company) seems to be exploring the "heavy lifter" option.
(New Scientist Space) Finally, space elevator builders could simply increase the overall mass of the elevator "car", or lifter - which will require more energy to heave it into space. LiftPort Group, which plans to take up as many as 20 people per trip, will pursue this strategy with a 100-tonne lifter. That is significantly heavier than the 20-tonne lifter planned by Brad Edwards, who devised the current conception of a space elevator.
Making a space elevator that heavy may have dire consequences, which may limit how much cargo a lifter can carry into space (thus reducing profits and increasing costs).
Although I am not an engineer or scientist, perhaps a more novel way at approaching this problem would be simply to create a "safe room" composed of lead where passengers could sleep and interact until the radiation danger is over. It may mean that the lifter is 30 tons instead of 20, but that definitely would be better than 100 tons.
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