posted on Apr, 16 2019 @ 10:59 PM
The radiation problem in space is pretty overrated. Sure it is a problem for most spacecraft that were built for the sake of being low mass, however
as soon as you start talking about anything of a reasonable scale, the issue of radiation decreases drastically. There was concepts looked into in
the 60s ( en.wikipedia.org...
(rocket) ) where a massive rocket allowed, counter intuitively, for savings due to the scale of
construction and the lack of need for bespoke design.
Why do I bring that up? Because such a massive "low tech" rocket would have more than enough mass to shield a nuclear reactor. Sure I have not
looked to deeply into nuclear reactors, however in my cursory lookyloo the amount of radiation is heavily dependent on the type of reactor. One of he
major reasons why many reactors needed such massive amounts of radiation shielding is because they are (or can be used as) breeder reactors. They are
used because they actively turn the fuel into other usable byproducts, and because of this they are more energetic, releasing far more radioactive
energy. In civil nuclear reactors and most navy reactors it is usually a light-water reactor that gives off far less radiation, and is far less
dangerous. Somewhat like the TRIGA reactors ( en.wikipedia.org...
) and require a relatively small amount of shielding
) consisting of a pool of water 6-9 meters deep. This is an added bonus because the water could also
be used as both an oxygen and hydrogen source, while also providing more than enough shielding to a crew.
This shielding would be provided due to the relatively low thrust, and long burn times required due to this, keeping the engine and fuel between the
source of outside radiation and the crew ( from the sun ). Although this shielding would be insufficient for a portion of the return trip while the
burn was taking place, but could again be turned around while drifting back towards earth.
Then there is the interesting part that the NERVA ( en.wikipedia.org...
) hasn't been developed further, and if modernized could be
even more efficient.