Discussion in 'Science and Technology' started by TheMasterOfOrion, Feb 8, 2009.
How about the UESPA, I hear they're pretty good at this kind of stuff
Are you kidding? After the Valient, Horizon, and Archon incidents, I wouldn't trust UESPA to move my furniture, let alone manage human spaceflight!
I believe Dusty is confused about using nuclear for space flight. It doesn't produce "thrust" in the same manner as a chemical rocket engine, but rather heat. We learned in high school physics class (1987) that a small amount of heat would be enough to "set things in motion" much like how an MMU uses small jets of air to propel a space walker. IIRC (without looking it up) the Pioneer spacecraft have a very tiny nuclear reactor that powers the entire craft with something in the neighborhood of 5 Watts and has been going since 1979(?).
One issue I see with a nuclear propeled vehicle is having a nuclear physicist on board to monitor and adjust the reactor as needed.
I agree with Herbert in that (IMHO) we're better off *JUST FOR NOW* in sending probes for the initial intel gathering and analysis.
I agree which is why I propose the Galactic Commonwealth borrows 5 billion-billion from the US government and hires NASA to send 10 million people one way to the moon in a 100 year window beginning in 2012, Terraform Mars as quick and dirty as possible then send 10 million colonists to Mars beginning 2115.
All the money gets spent employing people in the Space industry getting rapid growth to a Launch capacity of 50 payload/6 colonists per half hour.
No fancy cities or infrastructure sent. They simply live out of huge single stage Launch vehicles that serve as Lander and Habitat - after the first two years of food run out they will be expected to live off what they grow (hydroponics/fishfarm). Cities can be built by linking habs.
Expansion on the Moon will require Subterranean Mining to build an underground city for a billion, Mars will require a lot more.
The original question also presumes that the United States Air Force is more competent than the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. I have seen no evidence that the United States Air Force is any more objective than NASA when it comes to procuring launch systems or they would be more successful if resuming moon landings and a voyage to Mars became a military mission.
Big deal, just put one in as part of the flight crew, and they check out the reactor(s) as needed to, like any engineer usually does on a nuclear powered ship on Earth. No big whoop.
And such a ship would (and should be) built in space anyway, in a spacedock adjacent to the ISS. No protests would happen.
Not this again.
Do you have any idea how many men it takes to monitor the reactors of a Nimitz class carrier?
No protests? People will be howling about what could happen should there be an accident and any nuclear material enter the earth's atmostphere.
You didn't think this one through, did you?
Oh, but I did, since it's going to be like, what, I don't know-millions of miles up the gravity well? And also that if anything happens, the fissionables can be shot into a higher orbit? Or towards the sun? See, I do think these things through, unlike most of the people who object to this idea.
Think that I'm full of shit? Read Kim Stanley Robinson's Mars Trilogy (Red Mars, Green Mars, Blue Mars), but especially Red Mars, to see what I just said about needing NERVA.
Nuclear powered propulsion systems are needed if we are to become an interplanetary civilization - if we are to cross the large distances between planets effectively.
Chemical power may have been enough for car and planes, but it's far from sufficient if we are to ever develop some form of interplanetary commerce. It just doesn't generate enough energy.
Today's chemical powered rockets are very expansive and they can barely reach the orbit. A chemical rocket will transport only a few astronauts to Mars in 6 months, after billions are spent on a single mission.
The chemical propulsion's potential is exhausted.
You want to colonize Mars, to move millions of people there? You want to exploit the asteroid belt? Even with a space elevator, you couldn't do that in less than centuries with chemically propelled interplanetary craft.
Doesn't the nuclear fuel have to be lifted from surface to orbit at some point? An accident in that phase is what I thought of when I read the earlier comment.
Smart words from a smart person.
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