# Rejoice! NASA is developing Nuclear Power!

Discussion in 'General Science & Technology' started by tetra, Feb 6, 2002.

Not open for further replies.
1. ### tetraHelloRegistered Senior Member

Messages:
144
Yay! the day has finally come!

http://www.spaceref.com/news/viewpr.html?pid=7300
found that on slashdot

http://www.space.com/news/nasa_nuclear_020205.html
from space.com

The Pluto-Kupiter mission and the Europa missions have been cancelled, but I think that developing nuclear propulsion is MUCH more valuable to mankind than those two missions.

NASA is finally coming out of a 12 year long slumber.

If Nush's new budget doesn't get passed and this is cancelled, I plan to start a website to inform people that their congressman has voted against NASA, and organize to prevent their reelection.

3. ### XeliosWe're setting you adrift idiotRegistered Senior Member

Messages:
2,447

But BAH! Antimatter is better!

5. ### Pollux VRa Bless AmericaRegistered Senior Member

Messages:
6,495
It seems like a great idea but I wish they would just either leave mars alone or land someone on it already, I'm really not very interested in the minute amounts of carbon they find in martian stone, but what's underneath the surface of Europa.

7. ### Avatarsmoking revolverValued Senior Member

Messages:
19,083
Finally, a bit late, but nonthereless its a step forward.
I share your frustration Pollux V, I can not wait for the first mission to Europa. When the day comes, I promise to make a HUGE party(help me to remember this, when the time comes).
Bye!

8. ### XeliosWe're setting you adrift idiotRegistered Senior Member

Messages:
2,447
The United States spends too much money on military, and not enough on space exploration. Thier military budget exceeds $1 trillion a year. Canada's military budget is slightly less than$40 billion. The US spends more money on military than the next 9 countries combined (that is, the next 9 biggest spenders on military). They need to channel more money into more important things, like research and exploration.

9. ### Pollux VRa Bless AmericaRegistered Senior Member

Messages:
6,495

Too bad I have to wait at least four more years.

10. ### Chagur.Seeker.Registered Senior Member

Messages:
2,235
Back to the past ...

Like about thirty years ago, when it was first considered.

Wonder how far NASA will get this time?

Take care

11. ### Pollux VRa Bless AmericaRegistered Senior Member

Messages:
6,495
The only HUGE problem is the possibility that a shuttle or whatever will explode. THAT would be disastrous.

12. ### SeekerOfTruthUnemployed, but LookingRegistered Senior Member

Messages:
358
Given NASA's recent complete failures, the idea that they are now developing Nuclear power as a propulsion system does not give me a feeling of comfort or bliss.

13. ### Avatarsmoking revolverValued Senior Member

Messages:
19,083
Don't worry, it won't happen on US soil. The launchpad will probably be located in Afghanistan, now tht we have thm under control

. For a few tons of rice and seeds we will rent a good spot for a month (maybe even year)

BTW, Afghanistan has almost ideal location for launching.

To be serious I think tht nuclear spaceships should be launched from near earth orbit and to get those ships there, use magnetic field sequence interaction. (maybe it's called different, but you know what I'm talkin' about)
Cheers!

14. ### kmguruStaff Member

Messages:
11,757
Dont worry, with a seven year recession to follow, that will soon change...

15. ### tetraHelloRegistered Senior Member

Messages:
144
The US only spends so much on military because if we don't, every hostile nation and their brother will start acting up.

16. ### Avatarsmoking revolverValued Senior Member

Messages:
19,083
IF MY DEMANDS ARE NOT MET, YOU WILL BE NUKED.

AHHHHHHHHH, YOU ARE IN SILENCE, I'll SHOW YOU!

99.......10,9,8,7,6,5,4,3,2,1,0

MUHAHAHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA.

Ups, I forgot to say my demands!
Oh well............

17. ### XeliosWe're setting you adrift idiotRegistered Senior Member

Messages:
2,447
NASA would have to develop very sturdy containers for the nuclear fuel. I'm sure they can come up with a material that will resist a shuttle exploding on the launchpad. Buckytubes for instance, only about \$1 billion a square inch

18. ### Pollux VRa Bless AmericaRegistered Senior Member

Messages:
6,495
Well since the world will probably be outraged if they find that we're launching nuclear missiles (basically what they'd be) from Afghanistan I think a more realistic, safe place to launch shuttles from would be in the middle of the pacific on bikini atoll.

That place has already been destroyed so why not use it again?

19. ### tetraHelloRegistered Senior Member

Messages:
144
I don't think you people understand this.

Nuclear rockets do not "blow up" like a chemical rocket; the propulsion system is even older than chemical rockets themselves, and much older than Jumbo Jets.

Chemical rockets are unstable by nature, nuclear rockets are not.
The only evidence you can point out saying nuclear rockets are unstable are movies and paranoid enviro groups, no real evidence.

When's the last time you heard of a nuclear aircraft carrier or submarine blow up as a result of its propulsion system?

Even if the rocket "fails" (it wont "blow up"), the debris would not be scattered over a large area because there is no chemical explosion to throw it out. It would rain down upon a small area and would be pretty easy to clean up.

You could probably make the argument that exaust from successful chemical rocket launches harms the enviorment more than a nuclear rocket failing.

20. ### Chagur.Seeker.Registered Senior Member

Messages:
2,235
tetra ...

Are you serious?
Even ignoring Chinese rockets, like 1200 BC, Goddard was launching chemical rockets
in the 30's, well before nuclear fission and the A-bomb.
I imagine it would depend greatly on how long after launch the 'accident' occurred.
And as for it being 'pretty easy to clean up', check as to how easy Chernobyl has
been to clean up.

Take care

Last edited: Feb 13, 2002
21. ### wet1WandererRegistered Senior Member

Messages:
8,616
I think I have to agree with Chagur on this one. Radius of damage depends on height that the incident occurred, how bad it was, prevailing winds, and the surface to which it lands. If it occured in the jet stream then the contamination would be thinned but spread over a huge area. Obviously if it lands over a metropolis area the consequences will be graver than if it lands in a desert. Spread of the contaminated area will continue through surface winds, run off of rain into watershed basins, and even animal or human life that goes through the afflicted site.

Dispersion of radiation will determine the strength of the radioactive concentration. (how many millirems or rads are present) How much this continues to spread and what it damages and how much that damage is would be anybody's guess. My guess is that it would not be pretty and would cause a lot of headaches sooner or later. Most likely later. Radiation tends to show it's affects down the road , later in life and for several generations after. If you are in the heaviest area and it concentrated then you won't have to worry about it. Radiation poisoning is not a pretty picture. Not many survive it and there is a stage at which nothing can be done and you are just dead and waiting for the body to realise it.

Last edited: Feb 11, 2002
22. ### Pollux VRa Bless AmericaRegistered Senior Member

Messages:
6,495
Plus I heard those poor bastards in russia are still working on chernobyl....

23. ### tetraHelloRegistered Senior Member

Messages:
144
Because we are talking about NASA, I assumed we were talking about rockets capable of reaching space.

Chernobyl was in the middle of nowhere, and very hard to access in the event of an emergency. Also, chernobyl's accident was a result of severe neglect and poverty, which would not be a factor in a fully funded program such as the one NASA is now planning on.

This isn't some rocket capable of emitting vast amounts of radiation like you apparantly think. In the event of an explosion, the only radioactive debris would be the uranium itself, which isn't radioactive on the scale that you're thinking.