[ RadSafe ] [RadSafe]Mission to Mars---Fission Propulsion

JPreisig at aol.com JPreisig at aol.com
Mon Sep 29 16:16:49 CDT 2008

Dear Radsafe:

     This is from:    jpreisig at aol.com    .

     Hello Again Radsafers:

     Hope you all are well today and don't require a US Federal Bailout....

          I've been thinking about space travel to Mars again using fission
     propulsion.  I refer you to several articles by Freeman Dyson in the beta
     volume of the book "Adventures in Experimental Physics" --- Bogdan 
     Maglich, editor.  I hope you can find it in your library.  In one of the 
     Dyson indicates that one can use fission propulsion (without resorting to
     bomb propelled rockets> to achieve exhaust velocities that are twice as
     large as the velocities that can be reached via chemical propulsion.  
>From this,
     I infer that a readily achieveable fission propelled rocket can 
ultimately be 
     designed which can go twice as fast as chemically propelled rockets (at
     least>.  This would reduce the round trip time to Mars from 3 years to 
     about 1.5 years.  This is helpful if one is living in a spaceship for 
such a
     long time.  Further additional techniques used to reduce the total 
     time to Mars would also be desirable.

          So, considering use of Uranium to power such a trip, how could such
     trip be safely made?  For takeoff, the fission reactor propelling the 
     (or whatever> would largely contain Uranium (and not so much Cesium
     or Strontium which are produced via fission>.  So, let's assume a safe
     launch can be made.

          The rocket and astronauts (hopefully not Chimpanzees???!!!> would
     fly to Mars, land on the planet's surface, and do whatever science and 
     tasks which need to be done.  If necessary, a chemically propelled 
     lunar/Mars type lander could be used to get to Mars surface from the
     original rocket or Mother ship.  Upon completion of their time on Mars,
     the astronauts would direct their spaceship towards Earth, to return to 
           However, instead of returning directly to Earth, the spaceship 
     land on the Moon, not using a lunar/Mars type lander.  The spaceship 
     land directly on the Moon's surface, not to return to Earth anytime soon.
     The spaceship would be left on the Lunar surface, complete with its
     reactor intact.  There's not much weather or wind storms on the Moon, so 
     spaceship could stay there a long time without dispersal of any fission
     products or the original Uranium fuel.

          So, this leaves the astronauts on the Moon with the scientific 
     stored data on computers, etc.  What happens next???  A second 
     chemically propelled rocket is sent to the Moon,  and using a Lunar 
     the astronauts are picked up and return to Earth in the second 
     Mission accomplished.  I didn't say the space mission would be 

          In 200 years (a fair number of half-lives) the original fission 
     could be picked up from the lunar surface and returned to Earth for
     processing and/or storage.

          If we ever perfect a fusion propelled rocket system, much of the 
     described effort becomes unneccessary.

          Just something to think about.  I think such a fission propelled 
     system could be built in the relatively near future.  Oh my, jobs for 
     Health Physicists and/or Nuclear Engineers in space.

         The airplanes/jets which takeoff vertically are called Harriers.

         Another few years of relatively few (named> hurricanes and/or 
         tropical storms like 2008 (so far> and I'll have to say that the 
         warming hypothesis is fizziling out.

         Now, get back to work????

         I hope you have a wonderful week.

         Regards,   Joseph R. (Joe> Preisig, Ph.D.

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