I'm working on a large project involving humanity spreading to other star systems. Most of humanity lives on space stations (for reasons dealing with the backstory). I was looking at the planet orbiting Proxima Centauri and considered putting stations in orbit around that planet. However, Proxima Centauri is a flare star given to periodic bursts of radiation.

  1. Assuming sufficiently advanced technology, how realistic would it be for humans to have stations around that planet?
  2. For spaceships traveling to and from those stations, what sort of shielding would be needed to protect the inhabitants?
  3. There's frequent mention of water being used to protect stations/ships, but does the water get "saturated" with radiation after a while, thus losing its effectiveness?
  4. If water is used, is it possible to "recycle" irradiated water or is it lost?
  5. Would any genetic modifications of humanity assist in protecting humans from radiation?

closed as too broad by Mołot, Frostfyre, Hohmannfan, dot_Sp0T, kingledion Jan 16 '17 at 15:09

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    $\begingroup$ You answered it within the question: if they have sufficiently advanced technology, they can have shields or whatever. That’s what sufficient means. $\endgroup$ – JDługosz Jan 16 '17 at 10:29
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    $\begingroup$ Please, one question per question. $\endgroup$ – Mołot Jan 16 '17 at 11:04
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    $\begingroup$ Considering the spaceships have to travel to Proxima Centauri and handle the radiation hazards of interstellar travel, they will have already solved the radiation problems. Protecting space stations and spaceships travelling between stations from a flare star will be standard technology. Your question already identifies, correctly, the probable solutions. $\endgroup$ – a4android Jan 16 '17 at 11:50

Radiation isn't really something that water would become "saturated" with. It's made up either of electromagnetic waves or energetic particles. The point of using water (or lead, or any other material) is to force the radiation to use its energy to traverse that material. Eventually it runs out of energy before it can get through and use that energy on something that matters (like the cells in our bodies.) The effect on the water is simply that the energy is transferred to it, in the form of heat. As long as you effectively dealt with this heat, either by radiating it back into the void or by using a heatsink or similar mechanism, you'd be fine to keep using that water again and again.

The heat from the water could also be turned into free energy for the space station.

NASA have an article on their website about shielding astronauts from harmful radiation. It boils down to using physical shielding, like water or some more artificial alternatives, although it also discusses the possibility of using force fields.



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