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Space Plutonium: US Once Again Producing Fuel for Deep-Space Missions

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posted on Jan, 2 2016 @ 03:34 PM
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Protest by scientists about sending the stuff into orbit aboard Cassini…

animatedsoftware.com


1 kg. Pu238 was released from a navigational satellite launch accident over the Indian Ocean in 1964. The plutonium dispersed remains detectable in the southern hemisphere.

edit on 2-1-2016 by intrptr because: linked material




posted on Jan, 2 2016 @ 03:34 PM
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originally posted by: greencmp
a reply to: crazyewok

True, orbital infrastructure is necessary, whomsoever builds it.


Thats why I think the three biggest allied space agencys should share the cost.

All mankind will benfit from it so its wrong to lumber such a bill on one country.

NASA, ESA and JAXA could make the cost alot more managble.



posted on Jan, 2 2016 @ 03:38 PM
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a reply to: intrptr
Yes. Concerns about contamination have been voiced. A launch accident has the potential to contaminate the planet but the design of the generators reduces that risk a great deal. No venture is without risk.

edit on 1/2/2016 by Phage because: (no reason given)



posted on Jan, 2 2016 @ 03:40 PM
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a reply to: Phage


No. Not really. Not if you have a bit of understanding on what it takes to create an uncontrolled chain reaction and the design of the RTG.

I digested the article and understand the RTG enough to know the pellets were cylindrical, not spherical. Implosion won't work.

The cylindrical pellets would come apart before reaching criticality.



posted on Jan, 2 2016 @ 03:40 PM
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a reply to: crazyewok
As we get more and more ambitious, that will be a necessity. And there is already much collaboration with various probes.



posted on Jan, 2 2016 @ 03:41 PM
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a reply to: crazyewok

I don't disagree and we do need to get this party started.

As much of a private advocate as I am, I don't begrudge our space program's achievements.

I just think that much greater resources could be channeled into many more possibilities in the private sector. Their failures wouldn't be on the taxpayer's dime either and we know there will be epic catastrophes.
edit on 2-1-2016 by greencmp because: (no reason given)



posted on Jan, 2 2016 @ 03:42 PM
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a reply to: greencmp




I just think that much greater resources could be channeled into many more possibilities in the private sector.

That also is inevitable. As private enterprises get better and better at it.



posted on Jan, 2 2016 @ 03:45 PM
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a reply to: greencmp

Again thats another reason the private sector is so hesitant about the space industry and why they only seem to be using tried and true tec rather than trying anything new, space X excluded to some extent.

The first push needs to be by groups not concerned with profit margins and take a catastrophe without going bankrupt.

Once that initial infrastructure is up though there cost of space based industry will come down drastically and then more private entity’s will be able to afford to enter the market.

The UK is takeing some steps in that will plans to build the first spaceport to house Virgin galatic and Skylon.

edit on 2-1-2016 by crazyewok because: (no reason given)



posted on Jan, 2 2016 @ 03:46 PM
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a reply to: Phage


No venture is without risk.


Considering the seeming abandon of above ground testing , the bomb making industry, the waste from that and the nuclear power industry, the accidents, spills and leaks ongoing, not to mention the use of Depleted Uranium in ammunition in protracted wars…

What the hell, lets shoot it into space, too.

(sarc off)



posted on Jan, 2 2016 @ 03:48 PM
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originally posted by: intrptr
a reply to: Phage


No venture is without risk.


Considering the seeming abandon of above ground testing , the bomb making industry, the waste from that and the nuclear power industry, the accidents, spills and leaks ongoing, not to mention the use of Depleted Uranium in ammunition in protracted wars…

What the hell, lets shoot it into space, too.

(sarc off)



So what?

What would you do?

Without going nuclear we may as well just give up with space. With chems the best we can hope to do is piss around in LEO in tin cans and maybe the odd short term moon mission.



posted on Jan, 2 2016 @ 03:48 PM
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a reply to: intrptr
The fact that nothing from the 1964 accident was detected would indicate that the risk posed is somewhat less than that of above ground testing.



posted on Jan, 2 2016 @ 03:52 PM
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a reply to: crazyewok

I think we all agree that it needs to be done and that most attempts will fail.

Given that, I would rather private companies foot the bill and sustain the losses.

I don't care one iota about companies going bankrupt, that is inevitable if the envelope is being pushed. The engineers and lessons they learn will provide the next generation of advancement at each stage of the process to an ever increasing diversity of competitive enterprises.
edit on 2-1-2016 by greencmp because: (no reason given)



posted on Jan, 2 2016 @ 03:54 PM
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a reply to: greencmp



I don't care one iota about companies going bankrupt, that is inevitable if the envelope is being pushed.

Um..the companies do though. If they go bankrupt, that sort of puts a damper on further development, doesn't it?



posted on Jan, 2 2016 @ 03:54 PM
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a reply to: crazyewok


So what?

Exactly. As usual the science of any of those things is a load of compromise, putting potential danger behind the need, not the necessity.

If this was to save lives (Like Hiroshima and Nagasaki claimed to be) I could maybe say the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few, but its not, its experiments.

A hobby does not make me want to risk global contamination by Plutonium from failed launches. And then again the planet is already contaminated to some greeter extent from all the activity, so I said what the hell.

Again, (sarc off)

How about this. If the launch fails the people that worked on the project get to clean it up, if that were possible even.



posted on Jan, 2 2016 @ 03:54 PM
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originally posted by: Phage
a reply to: greencmp



I don't care one iota about companies going bankrupt, that is inevitable if the envelope is being pushed.

Um..the companies do though. If they go bankrupt, that sort of puts a damper on further development, doesn't it?


No, it does not.



posted on Jan, 2 2016 @ 03:56 PM
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a reply to: greencmp

Ah. Ok. They are in the business of losing very large amounts of money and being forced to declare bankruptcy which means they can no longer raise funds through investors.

On which planet are these businesses operating?



posted on Jan, 2 2016 @ 03:59 PM
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originally posted by: Phage
a reply to: intrptr
The fact that nothing from the 1964 accident was detected would indicate that the risk posed is somewhat less than that of above ground testing.

How do you know it wasn't detected, they still periodically capture a particle of (correction>>>) Pu from Nagasaki.

And if it was, would they tell us or claim plausible deniability? After all, difficult to prove a spec of radioactive contamination caused the cancer people die of all the time. They just "died of cancer".

The current subsurface noise about US troops stationed in and around Japan during Fukushima meltdowns being one such official denial.
edit on 2-1-2016 by intrptr because: corrected mistake



posted on Jan, 2 2016 @ 04:01 PM
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originally posted by: Phage
a reply to: greencmp

Ah. Ok. They are in the business of losing very large amounts of money and being forced to declare bankruptcy which means they can no longer raise funds through investors.

On which planet are these businesses operating?


If SpaceX invests $10B into development and goes bankrupt it will auction off its resources and intellectual property at substantial discount opening up the field for a wider array of newcomers.

Its best engineers will become available to new successive and increasingly more sophisticated competitors.
edit on 2-1-2016 by greencmp because: (no reason given)



posted on Jan, 2 2016 @ 04:02 PM
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a reply to: greencmp




Its best engineers will become available to new successive and increasingly more sophisticated competitors.

Who may find it difficult to find an employer willing to take the same risks which SpaceX did.



posted on Jan, 2 2016 @ 04:03 PM
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originally posted by: Phage
a reply to: intrptr
The fact that nothing from the 1964 accident was detected would indicate that the risk posed is somewhat less than that of above ground testing.

You did read the external content I linked up top?


animatedsoftware.com

1 kg. Pu238 was released from a navigational satellite launch accident over the Indian Ocean in 1964. The plutonium dispersed remains detectable in the southern hemisphere.




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