Developing space technologies – smart dust and plasma shields

One of the biggest challenges in future explorations of other planets is the processing and collating of the data gathered. A team at the University of Glasgow is looking at the problem well ahead of time, though, and have been running simulations of smart dust motes that could act as a distributed computer network as they spread across a planet’s surface on the wind. Elsewhere in the UK, the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory are also planning ahead, developing the principles of a magnetic plasma shield that could protect spacecraft (and their occupants) from cosmic radiation.