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Nuclear Star Trek


Gian
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If we can create nuclear bombs 1000x hiroshima, wouldn't it be fairly simple to use it to power space ships which could accelerate to the point where a trip to the outer planets would take days rather than years?

Is it true that this is already quite possible, but governments won't let us do it because of the potential dangers of nuclear accident?

Cheerz GIAN xx

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8 hours ago, Gian said:

Is it true that this is already quite possible, but governments won't let us do it because of the potential dangers of nuclear accident?

Not any more, it's nuclear thermal, not the nuclear explosions you mean, but still nuclear. Pretty exciting too. Let's hope it doesn't get cancelled.

Quote

NASA received $100 million in the 2019 budget to develop nuclear thermal propulsion. DARPA is also developing a space nuclear thermal propulsion system to enable national security operations beyond Earth orbit.

https://www.space.com/nuclear-powered-rockets-to-explore-solar-system.html

Edited by Curious layman
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On 6/29/2020 at 10:57 AM, swansont said:

Surviving the acceleration is one of the problems, regardless of method. Limiting yourself to ~1g or so puts a limit on how quickly you can make a trip.

Then would nuclear pulse be suitable for unmanned probes to other stars?  If the entire science payload is rather small, most of the payload could be tiny nuclear bombs.

Edited by Airbrush
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50 minutes ago, Airbrush said:

Then would nuclear pulse be suitable for unmanned probes to other stars?  If the entire science payload is rather small, most of the payload could be tiny nuclear bombs.

Depends on the probe. Equipment often doesn’t like large acceleration, either, but it’s often more tolerant 

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  • 5 weeks later...
On 6/29/2020 at 2:28 PM, Gian said:

If we can create nuclear bombs 1000x hiroshima, wouldn't it be fairly simple to use it to power space ships which could accelerate to the point where a trip to the outer planets would take days rather than years?

Is it true that this is already quite possible, but governments won't let us do it because of the potential dangers of nuclear accident?

Cheerz GIAN xx

 

But we use elements   such as plutonium to power space probes,     surely the risk is the same when launching from earth if people are on board or not.

 

Paul

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5 hours ago, paulsutton said:

 

But we use elements   such as plutonium to power space probes,     surely the risk is the same when launching from earth if people are on board or not.

 

Paul

Why is the risk the same? Which risk(s)?

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Just now, swansont said:

Why is the risk the same? Which risk(s)?

Well going on "because of the potential dangers of nuclear accident? " I am guessing someone is worried about a rocket exploding on launch and spreading radioactive material over a wide area.   

It would be useful to have more details.  

I am sure any reactors would be encased anyway. 

 

Paul

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31 minutes ago, paulsutton said:

Well going on "because of the potential dangers of nuclear accident? " I am guessing someone is worried about a rocket exploding on launch and spreading radioactive material over a wide area.   

It would be useful to have more details.  

I am sure any reactors would be encased anyway. 

 

Paul

“Spreading radioactive material” and “nuclear reaction explosion ” are not the same thing. 

The devices are not the same, so their response to a chemical explosion would not necessarily be the same. Devices can also be designed to withstand such explosions and similar accidents. 

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26 minutes ago, swansont said:

“Spreading radioactive material” and “nuclear reaction explosion ” are not the same thing. 

The devices are not the same, so their response to a chemical explosion would not necessarily be the same. Devices can also be designed to withstand such explosions and similar accidents. 

I am on your side on this, I was just trying to speculate as to what they meant by risks.  Can someone provide more information on what is meant by "because of the potential dangers of nuclear accident?"

In the mean time, this is from 2011 but may be interesting

https://www.space.com/13702-nuclear-generators-rtg-power-nasa-planetary-probes-infographic.html

Paul

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1 hour ago, paulsutton said:

I am on your side on this, I was just trying to speculate as to what they meant by risks.  Can someone provide more information on what is meant by "because of the potential dangers of nuclear accident?"

There are dangers, but that does not mean the risks are the same.

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