It?s the year 2027 and NASA?s Vision for Space Exploration is progressing right on schedule. The first interplanetary spacecraft with humans aboard is on course for Mars. However, halfway into the trip, a gigantic solar flare erupts, spewing lethal radioactive protons directly at the spacecraft. But, not to worry. Research by former astronaut Jeffrey Hoffman and a group of MIT colleagues back in the year 2004 ensured that this vehicle has a state-of-the-art superconducting magnetic shielding system that protects the human occupants from any deadly solar emissions.