Fw: Re: [ RadSafe ] [RadSafe]Mission to Mars---Fission Propulsion
jerry1018 at wowway.com
Tue Sep 30 10:42:31 CDT 2008
---------- Forwarded Message -----------
From: "Jerry Lahti" <jerry1018 at wowway.com>
To: JPreisig at aol.com
Sent: Mon, 29 Sep 2008 17:38:27 -0500
Subject: Re: [ RadSafe ] [RadSafe]Mission to Mars---Fission Propulsion
Joe, nothing is really new here.
Back in the 1963-1973 era, I was with NASA-Lewis Research Center (Cleveland
OH, now John Glenn Center) and was involved in many aspects of nuclear power
for power and propulsion in space. A propulsion fission reactor system,
Nerva, was developed (and built and tested by Westinghouse)for a proposed
manned Mars mission. A higher power version, Phoebe, was being designed by
LASL. The reactor was NOT to be used to escape from the earth's surface, but
used for interplanetry propulsion.
For more details and an interesting summary, see the "Proceedings of the
National Symposium on Natural and Manmade Radiation in Space" held March 1-5,
1971. The specific reference for the proceedings is NASA-TM X-2440, Jan 1972,
1020 pages. This document summarized many aspects of nuclear power in space
just prior to cancellation of virtually all of these programs. In particular,
yours truly contributed a paper regarding radiation doses duse to solar
flares on a typical Mars mission.
It's interesting to see that this subject is being revisited.
---------- Original Message -----------
From: JPreisig at aol.com
To: radsafe at radlab.nl
Sent: Mon, 29 Sep 2008 17:16:49 EDT
Subject: [ RadSafe ] [RadSafe]Mission to Mars---Fission Propulsion
> 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 articles 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 travel 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 rocket
> (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 other 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 home.
> However, instead of returning directly to Earth, the
> spaceship would land on the Moon, not using a lunar/Mars type
> lander. The spaceship would 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 the
> 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 samples, stored data on computers, etc. What happens
> next??? A second chemically propelled rocket is sent to the
> Moon, and using a Lunar lander the astronauts are picked up and
> return to Earth in the second spacecraft. Mission accomplished.
> I didn't say the space mission would be inexpensive.
> In 200 years (a fair number of half-lives) the original
> fission reactor 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 preceding described effort becomes unneccessary.
> Just something to think about. I think such a fission
> propelled rocket 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 global 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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