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Why doesn't Nasa go Nuclear for the Next Space Shuttle?

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posted on Apr, 30 2006 @ 06:37 PM
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If done correctly it could be used for years as a Quick transport between both the moon and mars from earth. We have been producing Nuclear power in this country for the last 50 years, why can't we put one in our Space Shuttle. Think about how possitive of a message that would be to the nation and the world. To the nation it would show that we are still on the threshold of technology and to the world it would show the possitive side of nuclear technology.

This technology is within our grasp why don't we employ it?

www.nasa.gov...

planetquest.jpl.nasa.gov...




posted on Apr, 30 2006 @ 06:52 PM
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The problem is the potential for diaster, unfortunately their is just so much risk with a nuclear powered Space Shuttle. Another Colombia or Challenger would be exponentially worse with a nuclear powered shuttle.



posted on Apr, 30 2006 @ 08:04 PM
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Originally posted by Baphomet79
The problem is the potential for diaster, unfortunately their is just so much risk with a nuclear powered Space Shuttle. Another Colombia or Challenger would be exponentially worse with a nuclear powered shuttle.


Because of thinking like that... :shk:



posted on Apr, 30 2006 @ 08:18 PM
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Originally posted by Baphomet79
The problem is the potential for diaster, unfortunately their is just so much risk with a nuclear powered Space Shuttle. Another Colombia or Challenger would be exponentially worse with a nuclear powered shuttle.


supposedly the explosion would destroy anything within a square kilometer of it. I think we can risk 1 sq kilometer for a Space Shuttle that would far exceed the statistics of the new shuttle.

Don't you think we could make nuclear energy safe enough for Space Flight. We have been making nuclear reactors for 50 years. In theory it seems a hell of a lot more stable than strapping several containers filled with rocket fuel to your sides to assist its launch.

Even if nuclear isn't the safest form of spaceflight right now does not mean the conditions couldnt change with improved technology.

To me it seems that NASA is using sooped up rocket technology from 60 years ago to design the next shuttle. NASA has no new propulsion methods to add to this next shuttle, or mild one's at that, what a joke.

It has been over 35 years since we have landed a man on the moon and since then our technology has only improved so that the new system can be a few times faster than apollo and carry a few more people. What a Joke!



posted on Apr, 30 2006 @ 08:32 PM
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Because Congress is filled with a bunch of technologically challenged folks who have done a good job of not educating their constituents but instead passing on drivel that having nuclear-powered craft launch over our heads will be the end of at least some of us.



posted on Apr, 30 2006 @ 08:32 PM
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This was more or less one of the goals of the Orion Project. You can get a rundown of why it didn't succeed from there (ie, the link).

Basically, it's illegal. And until we can conclusively say that, as human beings, we can use space for peaceful purposes only, it pretty well should be, IMO. Why bring nuclear power into space if we're still fighting wars on Earth?

It's not just about the risk of accidents. In fact that was never the primary reason why, although it may have helped sell it to the people. It was about military applications.

Nuclear propulsion isn't the same as nuclear weapons, I realize, but as long as there's any chance of masking one with claims of the other, and more importantly, the motivation, I'd rather keep us all grounded than risk some country holding us all hostage with orbiting nukes... even if it's my own country.

BTW, isnt antimatter propulsion different from nuclear propulsion?


You may get your way regardless, I doubt the NPT encompassed antimatter weaponry...


[edit on 30-4-2006 by koji_K]

[edit on 30-4-2006 by koji_K]



posted on Apr, 30 2006 @ 08:35 PM
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Project Orion, if I recall correctly, was launched by detonating nuclear bombs under it. Newer concepts arn't as volitile.


EDIT: And yes, antimatter is different from nuclear propulsion. Antimatter would be using the explosive reaction of a positron and and electron (or any other forms of antimatter) to power the ship. Nuclear would be using either the heat from a sustained fission or fusion reaction to create propulsion.

[edit on 4/30/2006 by cmdrkeenkid]



posted on Apr, 30 2006 @ 08:39 PM
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Originally posted by cmdrkeenkid
Project Orion, if I recall correctly, was launched by detonating nuclear bombs under it. Newer concepts arn't as volitile.


I think Orion encompassed several nuclear-based options, the "bombs under the deflector plate" being just one of them. But like I said above, antimatter or ion-drive propulsion seems to be more in fashion these days than nuclear propulsion, which as you say aren't as volatile, and I don't think either of those forms are illegal... although I'm not 100% sure on that.

But the rationale of not having nuclear propulsion applies just the same.. it's not the volatility, or the accident-risk, that was the point... it was the potential for military application... which applies just as much with antimatter weaponry.

For the record, I'd love to see us get new and economic ways to explore space, but I'm also a pessimist about human nature...



posted on Apr, 30 2006 @ 08:45 PM
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Antimatter is extremely out of our reach still. WAAY out of our reach!


Ion, while good, can't be used to break out of the Earth's atmosphere. You would need chemical rockets to life it to space and THEN you could use it in space. Also, the acceleration is rather low on an ion drive, though you can build up very high velocities over time.



posted on Apr, 30 2006 @ 08:54 PM
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When I started this thread I meant for it to be both about nuclear and antimatter or any other technologically superior engine than a rocket.

Koji personally I don't think aliens would mind us flying around on nukes(ride at your own risk they might say to us) or anti-matter anti-gravity devices. I would never think of arming these aircraft since they would be run by nasa. If they want to put some .50 cals on it it's none of my business though, jk. I think they would see it for what it was, an extremely brave attempt into the unkown in a search for further scientific and spiritual truth.

If you are still unsure that it would be safe for us to take a nuclear powered space shuttle into space nasa could design it to look exactly like your avatar, jk


The main point I am trying to make is we(American Citizens and NASA) have other options than traditional rockets to use for our new shuttle. Why don't we take this as an opportunity to illustrate to the world that w can make interstellar space travel safe, fast, and efficient?



posted on Apr, 30 2006 @ 09:24 PM
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Originally posted by Low Orbit
When I started this thread I meant for it to be both about nuclear and antimatter or any other technologically superior engine than a rocket.

Koji personally I don't think aliens would mind us flying around on nukes(ride at your own risk they might say to us) or anti-matter anti-gravity devices. I would never think of arming these aircraft since they would be run by nasa. If they want to put some .50 cals on it it's none of my business though, jk. I think they would see it for what it was, an extremely brave attempt into the unkown in a search for further scientific and spiritual truth.



It's not aliens I'm worried about... it's us! We can detect such things like nuclear drives going into space, and as long as everybody knows that some other country is watching them closely, then we have something like safety-through-MAD, although on a different scale. Some kind of checks and balances. But if we start permitting nuclear drives into space, then we may not know why we disallowed it to begin with until the day it's too late... Although, the Day the Earth Stood Still is one of my favorite films... and I think I'm probably influenced by Star Trek as well. I'd like to believe that when we do employ such space-travel technologies we'll really be able to explore space as one planet, and not as a bunch of nations with conflicting interests and/or private companies. That would impress (or scare) any aliens who have been watching us all this time, I think.




If you are still unsure that it would be safe for us to take a nuclear powered space shuttle into space nasa could design it to look exactly like your avatar, jk



Now that would be cool, and gets my support!




The main point I am trying to make is we(American Citizens and NASA) have other options than traditional rockets to use for our new shuttle. Why don't we take this as an opportunity to illustrate to the world that w can make interstellar space travel safe, fast, and efficient?


I completely support your feelings. I feel the same way. I'm not trying to bash your post or anything, don't get me wrong.. I just wanted to answer your original post's question about the reasons we haven't done so already. If and when we do put such ships into space, I probably won't be protesting outside NASA.. I'll be watching it on TV and feeling awe and excitement and hoping for the best.



[edit on 30-4-2006 by koji_K]



posted on Apr, 30 2006 @ 09:36 PM
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Koji are you telling me propulsion technology hasn't changed much in the last 40 years?



posted on Apr, 30 2006 @ 09:41 PM
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I suspect the reason is the same as why there are no nuclear bomber planes flying around up there non-stop. The risk of disaster plus it would be too heavy. Maybe the reactor itself would not be too heavy for the shuttle (I don't know) but the shielding certainly would be. You'd need to protect the crew from radiation.

My 2 cents...



posted on Apr, 30 2006 @ 09:49 PM
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Originally posted by Hellmutt
I suspect the reason is the same as why there are no nuclear bomber planes flying around up there non-stop. The risk of disaster plus it would be too heavy. Maybe the reactor itself would not be too heavy for the shuttle (I don't know) but the shielding certainly would be. You'd need to protect the crew from radiation.

My 2 cents...


The risk of disaster I understand, Im sure if Florida doesn't want a shuttle like that to fly out of Cape Canaveral that New Mexico would take it in a heart beat!

Your second point could probably be said about putting a piston engine into an airplane. It will probably be too heavy and the piston engine would definately be dangerous to the crew for numerous reasons. This does not mean that we should not try it!



posted on Apr, 30 2006 @ 09:51 PM
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Originally posted by Low Orbit
Koji are you telling me propulsion technology hasn't changed much in the last 40 years?


No.. It undoubtedly has. But the logic is the same. Like I said before, my concern is not about safety, it's about the possible weaponization of space. Advances in technology make little difference in this regard. Propulsion systems are safer, I'm sure, but your original question was why haven't we done it already, if we have the technology? IMO it was, as I said, because of the NPT treaty, which in turn was based not on safety fears, but because of fears about the weaponization of space. The rest of my reasoning is in my last post.



posted on Apr, 30 2006 @ 10:08 PM
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Koji, besides rockets what form of propulsion are you advocating for Nasa to investigate in the future?



posted on Apr, 30 2006 @ 10:10 PM
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IMO, It really is only the stresses caused by re-entry that stop us. So, if this were a vehicle permantly stationed in orbit, it would be safe enough. We could design a safe enough containment device for launch and a possible break up there, but a reentry break up would call for excessive shielding that would weigh way to much. NASA's New Horizons program uses a form of nuclear power....

New Horizons

[edit on 30-4-2006 by AHCivilE]



posted on Apr, 30 2006 @ 10:13 PM
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That's an RTG, yes, and to provide power, not propulsion. Several other probes to the outer Solar System have used RTGs as well. Also, the next Martian rovers will be as well.



posted on Apr, 30 2006 @ 10:14 PM
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Originally posted by AHCivilE
IMO, It really is only the stresses caused by re-entry that stop us. So, if this were a vehicle permantly stationed in orbit, it would be safe enough. We could design a safe enough containment device for launch and a possible break up there, but a reentry break up would call for excessive shielding that would weigh way to much. NASA's New Horizons program uses a form of nuclear power....

New Horizons

[edit on 30-4-2006 by AHCivilE]


Please, it will Not be too heavy, and in the chance that it is too heavy then we can bolt on some frickin huge rockets to it. Regardless, if this kind of tech could get us onto Mars in 180 days it should be investigated further.



posted on Apr, 30 2006 @ 11:56 PM
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Originally posted by Low Orbit
Koji, besides rockets what form of propulsion are you advocating for Nasa to investigate in the future?


Ion drives are within our reach, so I think they would be interesting to pursue in the short term.

Solar sails might be interesting, but I'm not sure if they count as propulsion either. I think they're at a stage now though where actual testing and research is possible and would be fruitful.

Replenishable fuel source engineering might be good, too. Conventional rocket technology, but with an emphasis on being able to refill the propellant base with stuff you can mine in space. (I know you said besides rockets, sorry..)

If I was advocating stuff for NASA, it would be on the policy side, not the engineering side, though... Let the scientists do whatever they think works best... just let the governments use their work wisely!



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