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We Are Closer to Building STAR TREK’s Deflector Shields Than You Think

Before movies like Star Wars determined what many space operas would look and feel like going forward, shows like Star Trek determined the kind of technology most would feature. As a predominant staple of Star Trek tech, ships would shoot phasers and protect themselves with some kind of “deflector shield.” These shields redirect dangerous and destructive energy in order to protect spaceships crews. But what we want to know is: How would they work?

In my latest Because Science, it’s “shield up!” as we try to make own our version of the famous forcefield, using actual fields and designs that real Earth scientists are looking into right now. If we had a deflector shield that could surround a spaceship on its way to Mars, for example, it would solve the cosmic radiation problem. A real deflector shield is more than a Roddenberry fantasy; it’s a NASA dream.

Of course, the effectiveness of any armor depends on what it’s supposed to be blocking, and so the makeup of a working deflector shield depends on what exactly it’s deflecting. Phasers, the main weapon in the Star Trek universe, have been called both particle and plasma weapons. There is a plausible way to block both, but you’ll have to watch my latest video above to find out what that way is!

After you watch the new episode above, check out my last video on how to implant false memories in Blade Runner‘s replicants, subscribe to this playlist to stay current with the show, buy a Because Science shirt, mug, hat, or collectible pin (the SURPRISE LIGHTSABER! shirts are in!), and follow me on Twitter to give me a suggestion for the next episode or on Instagram where I’m now posting extra mini-episodes!

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