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

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posted on May, 1 2006 @ 12:10 AM
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it would add a whole different meaning to the phrase "houston we have a problem"

to borrow a quote from the movie Armageddon

Rockhound: You know we're sitting on four million pounds of fuel, one nuclear weapon and a thing that has 270,000 moving parts built by the lowest bidder. Makes you feel good, doesn't it?

that's why we don't want to have a nuke powered shuttle




posted on May, 1 2006 @ 12:14 AM
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Originally posted by koji_K
Ion drives are within our reach, so I think they would be interesting to pursue in the short term.


Yes, they are. A handfull of craft have already employed them, and even more are going to be used in the future.



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.


They've tried a couple of times. Wikipedia - Cosmos 1



posted on May, 1 2006 @ 12:37 AM
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I like the idea of solar sails, but it seems like it's only half of the solution if that since they only work in space, What would you match it with to get out of orbit. Could a solar sail hybrid, paired with whatever tech you choose, reach Mars in 180 days like an antimatter or nuclear powered shuttle could?

Are there other hybrid options for the solar sail other than rocket/solar sail craft out there?

[edit on 1-5-2006 by Low Orbit]



posted on May, 1 2006 @ 02:21 AM
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There are elctro-magnetic solar sails, actually fields that expand as they fly farther from the sun.....the only problem is since it works by building up particles emitted by a star in an enclosed field, I dont see how you can change the geometry of the field for the return flight back to the solar system.

Ion drives are cool....hehe...



Thing is we needs to get around the light speed barrier if we are going to get out of our neighborhood and into other solar systems. (within our lifetimes) so we need more physics breakthroughs right here on earth before we can really reach for the stars.

I think in a few more years physics might be to the point, where if there was a real need or push for FTL (faster than light) flight it might be possible....(Im talking serious research probably fueled by the government, where expenses where less of a concern for a prototype.)

[edit on 1-5-2006 by XphilesPhan]



posted on May, 1 2006 @ 03:14 PM
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what do you think might propel this FTL craft?



posted on May, 1 2006 @ 03:20 PM
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Yeah, the next space shuttle chunks I see crashing in my back yard I want to be RADIOACTIVE!

That's why the military has to keep all their launches of nuclear stuff on the "QT."




posted on May, 1 2006 @ 04:20 PM
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Originally posted by Enkidu
That's why the military has to keep all their launches of nuclear stuff on the "QT."


Umm... No, they don't. They announce WELL in advance when a probe is being launched that has ANY sort of nuclear material on board. On top of that, the President has to sign off on any launch the day of, and has the ability to cancel it right up until the launch.

You really need to get your facts straight... :shk:

[edit on 5/1/2006 by cmdrkeenkid]



posted on May, 1 2006 @ 04:52 PM
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Originally posted by cmdrkeenkid

Originally posted by Enkidu
That's why the military has to keep all their launches of nuclear stuff on the "QT."

Umm... No, they don't. They announce WELL in advance when a probe is being launched that has ANY sort of nuclear material on board. On top of that, the President has to sign off on any launch the day of, and has the ability to cancel it right up until the launch.
You really need to get your facts straight... :shk:

Hello!



posted on May, 1 2006 @ 05:27 PM
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Originally posted by Low Orbit
I like the idea of solar sails, but it seems like it's only half of the solution if that since they only work in space, What would you match it with to get out of orbit. Could a solar sail hybrid, paired with whatever tech you choose, reach Mars in 180 days like an antimatter or nuclear powered shuttle could?

Are there other hybrid options for the solar sail other than rocket/solar sail craft out there?

[edit on 1-5-2006 by Low Orbit]


nvm

[edit on 1-5-2006 by jimbo57]



posted on May, 1 2006 @ 05:36 PM
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no, tell us about it Jimbo, enlighten me! Help me deny my ignorance?

[edit on 1-5-2006 by Low Orbit]



posted on May, 1 2006 @ 07:49 PM
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Originally posted by Low Orbit

If done correctly it could be


I am no expert but I do read the AIAA's monthly, Members ONLY periodical, "Aerospace America". According to what I have to believe are the best minds in the field, we simply haven't got the technology down well enough to safely use a nuke engine in space.

That's not to say we are terribly far off from having it down right but in answer to your question, we simply don't have the capability yet.


Springer...

[edit on 5-1-2006 by Springer]



posted on May, 1 2006 @ 08:14 PM
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I will just wait until they complete their anti-matter propulsion seriously this has more potential then riding on a bunch of radioactive isotopes.



posted on May, 1 2006 @ 10:46 PM
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I wonder if Carbon Nanotubes will make it possible to create a radiation shield light enough to be used in a nuclear shuttle? While carbon nanotubes are superlight and incredibly strong, I'm not sure if the material can be used for a radiationshield. Maybe it can be used for the heat-shield?

Mass Production of Carbon Nanotubes Now Possible



posted on May, 1 2006 @ 11:29 PM
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Springer what do you think about what the doctor proposes that maybe we should wait until the next great thing comes along, can we afford to not have a shuttle for 5-20 years.

Also, why cant we just attach a nuclear engine along a long nanotube that the shuttle would tow behind it and stop worrying about a heat shield?



posted on May, 1 2006 @ 11:40 PM
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Originally posted by Low Orbit
Also, why cant we just attach a nuclear engine along a long nanotube that the shuttle would tow behind it and stop worrying about a heat shield?


Well a carbon nanotube is like a rope, it needs tension. If we put the nuclear engine behind the Shuttle, or any craft, for that matter, the tension would go and no thrust would be imparted upon the craft until the engine passed it. Now, we could put the engine in front and tow the craft behind it, but that leaves the craft in a potentially dangerous exhaust. So neither option really would work.

As for the heat sheild, that is for protecting the craft/crew/whatever from the heat created when an object reenters the atmosphere of a planet. You would need a radiation sheild to protect the crew from the radiation of a nuclear power plant.



posted on May, 1 2006 @ 11:44 PM
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If NASA could go nuclear with a ship, it could go near the speed of light. Why NASA doesn't? BECAUSE IT'S TOO BIG!!! You simply cannot build one on a ship and expect it to launch. Forget it. They could probably devise a smaller reactor but they don't have the fuynds, or are too lazy to stray from the true formula.



posted on May, 2 2006 @ 12:11 AM
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Originally posted by Nakash
If NASA could go nuclear with a ship, it could go near the speed of light. Why NASA doesn't? BECAUSE IT'S TOO BIG!!! You simply cannot build one on a ship and expect it to launch. Forget it. They could probably devise a smaller reactor but they don't have the fuynds, or are too lazy to stray from the true formula.


Yes, it could get to relativistic speeds, in theory. So can sails and ion drives too. And those are more feasible with today's technology. Which also brings us to our next point, and to why NASA doesn't: We lack the proper technology for such an undertaking. Reactors can be made very small nowadays. Just look at nuclear submarine reactors compared to the first reactors. But yes, that would still be too big and heavy for something such as this.



posted on May, 2 2006 @ 12:29 AM
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Cmdr. I respect what you are trying to tell me and I understand that with todays technology it cannot be done, it simply is too big. But, there are plenty of potential solutions to this problem if we simply invest a little time and a lot of money into it.

Thanks Cmdr for the clarification, Ill try not to mix terms in the future. I still think eventually we could figure out a way to have a nuke engine far enough behind to not cause radiation and still be stable enough for space flght, If the craft could be assembled in space, tow the nuke up along a space elevator and then attach it to the shuttle. Couldnt you use something as simple as a 500 ft aluminum pole to seperate the shuttle from the nuke. I do not understand why one would need something more complex than that, other than the temperatures of space.

I appologize for my ignorance.



posted on May, 2 2006 @ 12:31 AM
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can someone chime in here?

[edit on 2-5-2006 by Low Orbit]



posted on May, 2 2006 @ 10:04 AM
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SPAM!

Where's a mod when you need one, lol?

Thanks Mod!

[edit on 2-5-2006 by Low Orbit]



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