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Why Not Send Our Garbage To The Sun? UPDATED

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posted on Apr, 19 2010 @ 04:28 PM
reply to post by tothetenthpower

Ok, I had to do a google search on this very topic today because I had just thought of this same idea yesterday during a long road trip. That's crazy that we were thinking along the same lines! Anyways, I was trying to read through the 4 pages of responses but alot of them were people who must not have been paying attention because they're talking about "rocket fuel usage" and stuff. Who said anything about rocket fuel? The author said "caterpult", people! You were thinking the same thing I was, but my idea was actually more like create a building oh say about as high as the empire state (not sure how tall would be required actually) and caterpult it upwards. I'm not too sure a "sling" style catapult would work, but maybe how about the magnet method? You know, that new thing we've been hearing about where they use magnets to "launch" stuff (like the rail gun thing I've heard about). Maybe rocket fuel could be minimal because we could probably just use a little to correct it's path to go towards the sun. What do you think?

posted on Apr, 20 2010 @ 09:47 AM
reply to post by illlogic

A "catapault" idea is something that's LONG been postulated, mainly by 'hard" Science Fiction writers.

I can recommend a novel by esteemed writer Robert Heinlein.

His Hugo-winning novel The Moon is a Harsh Mistress, written back in the 1960s, has a great description of the types of catapault that would be required.

Essentially, the story involves an alleged civilization on the Moon (mostly the result of society's cast-offs, criminals and such...much like the early Australian settlers) who revolt against their oppressors, and demand equal justice, and a "country" of their own. Autonomy, and a right to self-governance.

A common theme, in most of Human history.

However, within the story, there is considerable detail as to HOW a catapault could possibly be constructed, on Earth. Critical requrements are a high altitude, near the equator (to take advantage of Earth's rotational speed) AND the additional need for about 300+ kilometers of 'track', for the launching apparatus.

In other words, a HUGE (and very costly) endeavor. Not only in terms of money, but engineering as well.

posted on Apr, 20 2010 @ 09:51 AM

Originally posted by Frank_Saturn
The first big problem would be the cost of the rocket fuel, who would give that away tax free and at the below cost price of zero.

Second, We need to get the space elevator working and extremely efficient on pulling mass away from Earth's gravity.

Third, attach ion propulsion on a cohesive ball of trash then navigate it unmanned to the sun.

Here you go...

I need some research grants, and a think tank to offer me some work, but noooo I need a diploma and a stable work history lol.

Holla atcha boy!

-Frank Saturn

Now if we can get superadvanced nanotechnology solarpanels, with crafts that dont need rocket fuel, this would seem like a good idea I guess. hmmmm

But probably the best idea is find more advanced recyclying technology.

[edit on 20-4-2010 by _Phoenix_]

posted on Apr, 20 2010 @ 10:11 AM
How about we solve the trash dilemma right here on Earth?

Howz about we create Garbage Eating Life Forms using the technology described here?

Sorry if already posted. Terminator meets Termite.

[edit on 20-4-2010 by kinda kurious]

posted on Apr, 20 2010 @ 12:33 PM

Originally posted by BrianInRI
I have often wondered a similar idea. Getting rid of nuclear waste in a similar manner. I have no idea of the cost or feasability, but it seems like a good idea.

I think nuclear waste is the one type of waste we have where sending it to the sun is worthy of at least a feasibility study. I thought it might be buried in Yucca mountain but apparently that's not going to happen. Yes sending it to the sun would cost over $10,000 a kg but I'm not sure any alternative disposal methods we are considering will cost less or even if they do, they might not be as safe or safe enough.

I'd hate to know just how much we've already spent (wasted?) doing feasibility studies on using Yucca mountain.

President Obama and the Department of Energy are working to restart America’s nuclear industry to help meet our energy and climate challenges and create thousands of new jobs. The Administration is fully committed to ensuring that long-term storage obligations for nuclear waste are met.

The President has made clear that Yucca Mountain is not an option for waste storage. The Blue Ribbon Commission on America’s Nuclear Future, led by Congressman Lee Hamilton and General Brent Scowcroft, will conduct a comprehensive review of policies for managing the back end of the nuclear fuel cycle, and will provide recommendations for developing a safe, long-term solution to managing the Nation’s used nuclear fuel and nuclear waste.

On March 3, 2010, the Department of Energy filed a motion with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to withdraw the license application for a high-level nuclear waste repository at Yucca Mountain with prejudice. The President’s fiscal year 2011 budget request eliminates funding for the Office of Civilian Radioactive Waste Management. The Office of Nuclear Energy will lead used fuel activities previously performed by OCRWM.

WTF???? What's this "long term storage"? What about disposal and a permanent solution? We can't keep handing off this problem to our kids and grandkids, especially if the nuclear industry is going to get restarted.

We've been trying to figure out what to do with the nuclear waste for decades and still have no idea? Sending it into the sun is sounding pretty good about now. That disposal cost should be factored into the cost effectiveness of operating nuclear facilities as we consider restarting the nuclear industry.

posted on Apr, 20 2010 @ 12:44 PM
What happens with a malfunction during the launch sequence, and radiation products are scattered across the upper atmosphere.

We'd better have a HIGHLY reliable launch system before considering such a move.

posted on Apr, 20 2010 @ 01:44 PM

Originally posted by Arbitrageur
WTF???? What's this "long term storage"? What about disposal and a permanent solution? We can't keep handing off this problem to our kids and grandkids, especially if the nuclear industry is going to get restarted.

We've been trying to figure out what to do with the nuclear waste for decades and still have no idea? Sending it into the sun is sounding pretty good about now. That disposal cost should be factored into the cost effectiveness of operating nuclear facilities as we consider restarting the nuclear industry.

A BETTER QUESTION is why be enthusiastic about nuclear programs if we can't figure out a method to RECYCLE nuclear energy, rather than dispose it. Now I am not a nuclear scientist but burying highly radio-active material seems STUPID, even more stupid then burying conventional trash, bio-waste, dangerous chemicals, etc.

Greenpeace has been pushing to ban nuclear energy for a long time, but they are not quite as vocal and determined as they should be. I think we need A GREEN PARTY to register in america and hopefully get some votes. In europe, the green party is popular!

posted on Apr, 20 2010 @ 02:00 PM
reply to post by Truth1000

Well we've launched radioactive stuff into space already right? like the Viking lander which had a nuclear powered unit.
NASA: Nukes to Power Spacecraft

Grossman pointed to NASA documents showing that the agency's Mars Exploration Rover 2003 has a 1-in-230 chance of an "accident that releases radioactive materials into the environment."

But Newhouse says that in Prometheus, conventional rockets will take the craft past the atmosphere; only then will the reactor be switched on. Before that, the highly enriched uranium-235 inside is "just a hunk of metal," Newhouse said -- not particularly dangerous.

Likewise, the waste will be "just chunks of metal" and if well packaged, not particularly dangerous, like an active nuclear reactor might be.

It might be a good idea to use packaging something like the "black box" recorders on aircraft that are crash-resistant. If the launch fails early, it will just end up off the Eastern coast of Florida in the Atlantic ocean. And with a locator transmitter like the airline black box, we should be able to follow the transmitter and retrieve the material from the Atlantic ocean.

If it's well packaged the radiation released shouldn't exceed the level of background radiation we are already exposed to every day from ordinary sources of radioactivity like soil and rocks and the radioactive gases they release.

Probably a safer bet would be something like the Astrium Space Jet, modified to carry cargo:

The Astrium space jet will take off and land conventionally from a standard airport using its jet engines. At about 12 km altitude, a rocket engine takes over to boost the vehicle's altitude to approximately 100 km. After atmospheric re-entry, the jet engines are again restarted for landing.

Such a vehicle could lift the payload into orbit, and once there, the payload would be deployed and the payload rocket fired to take it to the sun. If the rocket failed to fire, the payload could be retrieved.

If there is engine failure, during launch of the space jet, there are wings so it can glide back to the Earth, which is essentially what the space shuttle does.

posted on Apr, 20 2010 @ 02:13 PM
reply to post by Arbitrageur

Well we've launched radioactive stuff into space already right?


AND, this is troubling (and possibly a germ of just why there exist certain NASA "conspiracy" theories...)

On Apollo 17 (last manned Apollo mission to the Moon) a plutonium power source was carried along, in order to power a certain experiment.

(I forget which one, but it was mentioned by Astronaut Eugene Cernan, in his biography Last Man on the Moon).

THIS, in an era when (the 'Cold War') there were very public prohibitions against any launchings of nuclear material.

Publically, that is.

I am NOT critiscizing the choice of NASA, in this event. Just thinking it could account for many of the perceived instances of "dodges", or other cases where perception is that NASA has not been entirely truthful, or WAS NOT (in the past) entirely truthful.

Nowadays, POST 'cold war', these topics are less controversial.

To most, anyways...there will ALWAYS be some people who will view ANY launching of any sort of nuclear material as provocative. That is understandable. Consideration of the effects of an in-flight FAILURE during a launch, as paramount in the concerns. And, those are warranted.

Barring that, the simple fact is, it's happened, and no harm done (so far).

But, since accidents DO happen, on occasion, let's not test boundaries, OK?

posted on Apr, 20 2010 @ 03:04 PM

Originally posted by weedwhacker
But, since accidents DO happen, on occasion, let's not test boundaries, OK?

I don't think there's any question that if we repeatedly launch nuclear materials into space, eventually there will be an accident. We know launches are inherently risky and not 100% successful, there will be accidents.

The question is, what will the consequences of such an accident be?

If the answer is we could have an orbiting Chernobyl rain down large amounts of radiation, than we shouldn't do it.

If the answer is some radioactive chunks of metal will fall that will only irradiate the area they come into contact with when they hit the ground, then it doesn't seem too risky to me, even if it fell in my back yard, I think they could just dig up some soil along with the stuff that fell and cart it off, it really wouldn't worry me that much if it's in the proper form.

Most people don't seem to realize how much radiation we get already from background radiation sources and how a small accident won't elevate our exposure noticeably above those background sources. Did you say you're a pilot? You get more radiation exposure from being a pilot than the average person does, so you should understand this as well as anyone.

posted on Apr, 24 2010 @ 09:56 AM
I agree with some of the earlier posted, digging a REALLY deep hole into the earths core would be cheaper and easier.


posted on Apr, 27 2010 @ 07:45 PM
reply to post by tothetenthpower

The shear volume of garbage we produce daily would make that a daunting if not impossible task.

And in order to catapult anything into space it would need to travel thousands of miles an hour, then it would need additional thrust to break away from earths gravitational pull. This simply cannot be done by catapult.

The other option would be rockets, but this option is far from feasible.
Given how much trash we have and the fact that for every pound of weight you need a pound of fuel we would deplete our resources getting a mere fraction to the sun.

It's a novel idea, but an impractical one.

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