Skip to comments.Russia Thinks It Can Use Nukes to Fly to Mars in 45 Days—If It Can Find the Rubles
Posted on 03/11/2016 8:12:05 AM PST by BenLurkin
Last week, their national nuclear corporation Rosatom announced it isbuilding a nuclear engine that will reach Mars in a month and a halfwith fuel to burn for the trip home. Russia might not achieve its goal of launching a prototype by 2025. But that has more to do with the countrys financial situation...than the technical challenges of a nuclear engine.
A nuclear contraption should not be too far off, not too complicated, says Nikolai Sokov, senior fellow at the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies in Monterey, CA. The really expensive thing will be designing a ship around these things.
But the outcomes of those two methods are radically different, because chemical rocketry has a catch-22. The faster or farther you want to go, the more fuel you need to pack. The more fuel you pack, the heavier your rocket. And the heavier your rocket, the more fuel you need to bring
Eventually, the equation balancing thrust to weight plateaus, which is why a year and a half is around the lower time limit for sending a chemically propelled, crewed mission to Mars.... And thats not even considering the incredible cost of launching fuelabout $3,000 a pound...
The engines the Soviets and Americans were developing during the Space Race, on the other hand, had at least double a chemical rockets specific impulse. Modern versions could likely do even better. Which means spaceships would be able to carry a lot more fuel, and therefore fire their thrusters for a longer portion of the trip to Mars (bonus: artificial gravity!). Even better, a thermal fission spaceship would have enough fuel to decelerate, go into Martian orbit, and even return to Earth.
(Excerpt) Read more at defence.pk ...
1) Take off
2) nuke them from orbit — its the only way to be sure
3) nuke them again — to make the rubles bounce
We actually had the NERVA nuclear rocket engine that was killed by Nixon in the early 70’s.
Even had it up and running for tests. It would have been used for manned Mars missions and building a moon base.
Russia will get it done, they will make their neighbours pay for it.
Beat me to it.
There’s no reason not to build one of these, at least for the long haul legs between planets. Bet the dam breaks when the first one gets to Mars.
“After all,” Yevgeny continued, “no one knows nuclear propulsion like Russian military. I am third-generation submarine sailor,” he said, wiggling his tentacles...
Worse still: MARTIAN climate change, and endangering every single Martian species.
Even if none exist. . . .
Actually not the same concept. While Orion involved detonating bombs for propulsion, this concept uses the a reactor to generate heat.
Which in turn is used to expel a non-radioactive propellant.
Project Orion motto: Mars by 1968 Saturn by 1972
Had that happened, there were inter-system versions to be followed by interstellar versions.
But like the NERVA, it was killed due to a failure of political will - something we still suffer from today; and by a need for politicians to retain power over individuals - something they would lose in a full-on deep space manned effort.
Unlike today’s concepts with a crew of a few and years to make a trip, and likely one way at that, the Orion worked better the bigger it got. So trips would be measured in days or weeks in the inner solar system, the outer in months. Crews in the test vehicle were 20 or more, water would ring the ship - insulating the crew from rays and providing hot water showers on demand.
The interstellar version would be crewed by hundreds for trips lasting years - but no where near the length of time for similar destinations using ion/plasma/solar sail/chemical. Only nuclear power of this sort could make trips to the nearer stars and back in a reasonable time frame.
One problem was that there was no way to steer the vehicle precisely - something which could have been solved had it gone forth. The real big problem was the one man who specialized in designing very small low yield fission bombs refused to make more and left the field.
Nuclear propulsion method has been on the theory board for a long time. I think the hardest part will be finding the people crazy enough to rid it.
you owe me a new keyboard!
Dyson. Long time ago at NASA.
Would this think spew radioactive material exhaust all the way there and back?
Do they make a catalytic converter for that?
Well not exactly ‘spew.’ Since the propulsion is small contained nuclear explosions spread liberally might be better - however, the radiation emitted is hardly anywhere near the radiation found in space. In short, no one would notice.
Although NERVA was a great idea and it clearly worked, “it would be bad” if those engines disintegrated in the atmosphere especially above land. Assembling and using them it space might be OK.
Yes. It is called a cataclysmic converter.
Russia has lost several good men in their space race. - I
worked one summer in 1964 down at the Marshall Space Flight
Center in Huntsville in the Valve Unit. I’d never even typed
on an electric typewriter & those snap-in IBM Selectric
balls with the foreign symbols were Greek to me. They were
racing to get to the moon first & just took it for granted
that LOTS of astronauts would be lost in the race for the
moon. When that Saturn V rocket took off for the moon a few
years later, I prayed - because I wasn’t at all sure I had
known much of what I was doing when I worked down there.
(Of course, they weren’t going to allow us recent high
school grads to do anything *really* important WERE THEY?)
Well, it went okay; but not because we were rocket
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.