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Wednesday, March 5, 2003



Nuclear Propulsion and Space Exploration

Project Prometheus' fate?
Project Prometheus' fate?
Credit: Bulfinch's Mythology
From the Apollo Age to Project Prometheus, from a manned mission to Mars to anti-matter and nuclear fusion, Brian covers all forms of nuclear propulsion in his article, Nuclear Propulsion and What It Means to Space Exploration. Here's a snippet:

The earliest considered form of nuclear propulsion was known as a nuclear rocket, or nuclear explosive propulsion. The nuclear rocket would use nuclear explosions to propel a spacecraft to extremely high velocities. One of the most famous of these proposals was the Titan concept, a giant spacecraft using the world’s nuclear weapons arsenals to propel itself to the stars. Needless to say, this has extreme disadvantages, and never got off the ground. For one, the radiation output would be enormous. It would be folly to launch from Earth, not to mention difficult. If a reactor were used to generate the explosions, the size would need to be thousands of tons – almost an impossibility to get working. This concept has been abandoned due to concerns about radiation exposure and since the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty has been in place.

Very interesting, Brian, and well researched.


- posted by Alex @ 21:09 EST