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Old January 22 2009, 06:30 PM   #37
Vance
Vice Admiral
 
Re: Launching the Phoenix

The God Thing wrote: View Post
In what sense, exactly? Thermonuclear fusion rockets for space vehicle propulsion applications have been rigorously analyzed since the 1960s (Example 1, Example 2, Example 3).
They have, but they've largely been dismissed, largely due to efficiency issues. Sustaining a fusion reaction requires a lot of energy to do. The problem these articles often fail to point out is that nuclear power isn't exactly 'mass-shockwave-propellent' type. It's mostly just heat and miniscule mass.

The reaction doesn't just exploded like chemical thrust, or act like a mini ICBM going off. Even with ICBMs the bulk of the 'shockwave reaction' is caused by the sudden heat differential in the atmosphere.



The key line from all three articles is this: "[FONT=Times New Roman]Fusion reactions release an enormous amount of energy, which is why researchers are devising ways to harness that energy into a propulsion system.[/FONT]"

This means that the fusion reaction itself is not directly harnessable for this purpose. They haven't yet devised a practical way to convert the enormous energy from fusion reactions into thrust. After all, that's why there's WATER in nuclear power plants, it's not coolant, it's actually the power drive. The STEAM moves the turbines.

That's the problem with the interpretation that Roddenberry used in the writer's bible... "Nuclear Rocket" is a 1950's sci-fi 'future-tech' sounding thing, but it's utterly rediculous to real-world science.
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