July 13th, 2013

Space! On magnatism and communication, and how spaceships navigate and/or avoid colliding with stuff

Writing an 'in space' fic, and I have a couple questions. Some of the story takes place in the Epsilon Eridani star system. Wiki says: "Epsilon Eridani has a higher level of magnetic activity than the Sun, and hence demonstrates increased activity in the outer parts of the star's atmosphere: the chromosphere and corona. The average magnetic field strength of this star across the entire surface is (1.65 ± 0.30) × 10−2 T,[58] which is more than forty times greater than the (5–40) × 10−5 T magnetic field strength in the Sun's photosphere."

My question is (and i've googled this about ten different ways, and can't get anything) is what, if anything, would that do to spaceships in that system (mining craft in the asteroid belts) trying to communicate? Would it be disruptive, or would it not mean much of anything unless you were right on top, so to speak, of the sun? This is assuming the mining craft are using radio waves to communicate. If there's a better option, please mention it.


Second question - how does a spaceship 'see'? In a star system with the aforementioned magnetic activity, and a lot of debris, would radar be sensitive enough? Or would it be overwhelmed by all the 'stuff' out there? The space shuttle is composed thusly: The nose cone made of reinforced carbon-carbon, the the chassis is made of an alloy of titanium, aluminium and vanadium, The windows are main from reinforced polycarbonate. The rest is made of fibreglass and carbon fibre. The tiles are made of silica ceramic tiles or composite absorption tiles. Polystyrene is used for insulation. If the spaceships I'm writing use similar construction, how 'hard' would they be to see on radar, or how easy?

Googled: would magnetic activity affect radio waves in space and got information about what it does to earth, but not in general, and not if there's a limit depending on how close/far you are.

Not sure if the tag is right.