HiVolt is a proposal by Bob Hoyt, the late Bob Forward and Bryan Minor.

Around the earth lies the Van Allen Belts. These consist of charged particles that are trapped by the earths magnetic field into spiral patterns that bounce around between the north and south poles of the earth. They are related to the Northern Lights.

The belts of radiation are sufficient to kill a human in a space suit in a very short period of time; and they are one of the things that limits the altitude of the ISS (for example).

The proposal is that we do away with with them!

The idea is that ~60 mile long tethers be placed in orbit within the Van Allen Belts. These would be charged up to produce a huge electric field that would deflect the particles, which would then tend to hit the atmosphere and be absorbed harmlessly.

The strength of the belts is expected to be reduced by a factor of 100 within 6 months of deployment. The inner belts are the ones that would be primarily targeted initially, but it is believed that most of the belts can be successfully tackled, and in principle they can all be removed.

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