NASA Going Back to the 70's for Atomic Rocket Powered Mars Spacecraft

DooKey

[H]F Junkie
Joined
Apr 25, 2001
Messages
11,653
NASA is going back to some old plans they shelved back in the 70's and is looking at using an atomic rocket to get to Mars. Believe it or not this makes a lot of sense because the spacecraft would have the capability to get there faster and as a by-product this would increase astronaut safety by reducing exposure to cosmic rays. If this works out the rest of the solar system is our oyster. Check out the video on how an atomic rocket works.

Watch the video here.

“As we push out into the solar system, nuclear propulsion may offer the only truly viable technology option to extend human reach to the surface of Mars and to worlds beyond,” Sonny Mitchell, Nuclear Thermal Propulsion project manager at NASA’s Space-Flight Center, said in a press statement that announced the agency’s collaboration with BWXT last year. “We’re excited to be working on technologies that could open up deep space for human exploration.”
 

Rahh

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Jan 14, 2005
Messages
1,607
GET YOUR ASS TO MARS!

I really don't understand why NASA is trying so hard to go there...
 

Nukester

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Mar 21, 2016
Messages
1,429
What was old, is new again. I think the reason for the mission to Mars is to prove we can move people to another planet, prepare for the end of the world that might happen a few million years from now....
 

DeathFromBelow

Supreme [H]ardness
Joined
Jul 15, 2005
Messages
7,316
GET YOUR ASS TO MARS!

I really don't understand why NASA is trying so hard to go there...

Doesn't matter where you want to go, NERVA opens up the whole solar system.

Didn't actually see anything in the video "on how an atomic rocket works" but still neat.

Normally rockets burn fuel + oxidizer and run the expanding exhaust gas out through a nozzle to generate thrust. In a nuclear thermal rocket you use the heat from a nuclear reactor to heat and expel a propellant (pure hydrogen works best, it has the lowest molecular mass/highest exhaust velocity). Optionally, oxygen could be injected into the hot hydrogen exhaust for an afterburner effect at the expense of fuel efficiency.

The efficiency of NERVA opens up the entire solar system to exploration, it effectively triples the payload that can be delivered by the same mass rocket. The optional afterburner effect could be used to reduce travel time for manned Earth-Moon trips to a few hours, or to quickly launch small probes to distant targets in the outer solar system.
 

NeoNemesis

2[H]4U
Joined
Mar 10, 2004
Messages
2,466
The problem with nuclear rocket has always been the risk of them exploding within the Earth's atmosphere. Still not sure if we're there yet from a quality standpoint.

Upside of this design is that for a one way trip the engine could act as a power source on Mars.
 

oROEchimaru

Supreme [H]ardness
Joined
Jun 1, 2004
Messages
4,662
any quick summaries? Are these the ion engines they siad they were making a couple years ago?
 

DeathFromBelow

Supreme [H]ardness
Joined
Jul 15, 2005
Messages
7,316
All about Project Orion.

While cool, that's not what they're talking about. Orion was a proposal to build massive ships propelled by nuclear bombs detonated behind a blast plate. In this case they're talking about nuclear thermal rockets. They were developed and tested on the ground back in the late 60s and early 70s before Congress killed the program.
 

daglesj

Supreme [H]ardness
Joined
May 7, 2005
Messages
5,617
While cool, that's not what they're talking about. Orion was a proposal to build massive ships propelled by nuclear bombs detonated behind a blast plate. In this case they're talking about nuclear thermal rockets. They were developed and tested on the ground back in the late 60s and early 70s before Congress killed the program.

I know its not, it's a more impressive take and really the only way we'll ever get enough materials into orbit if we are ever serious about space exploration.

They need to stop pussyfooting around. Shit or get off the pot!
 

sirmonkey1985

[H]ard|DCer of the Month - July 2010
Joined
Sep 13, 2008
Messages
22,230
sign me up, i'll fly on the damn atomic rocket if no one else wants to.
 

Powerage

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Jun 26, 2007
Messages
1,056
Justify their existence and gain a Budget to spend on friends and garner kickbacks.
*cough*bullshit*cough*

Haters gonna hate.

Why go to Mars? Why did we go to the Moon? I think this is one of those things that if you don't get it, it's probably not worth trying to explain it to you.
 

Rahh

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Jan 14, 2005
Messages
1,607
*cough*bullshit*cough*

Haters gonna hate.

Why go to Mars? Why did we go to the Moon? I think this is one of those things that if you don't get it, it's probably not worth trying to explain it to you.

Really now? If you think going to the moon for the first time in the past was anything like Mars now, it's probably not worth trying to explain the difference to you.
 

nutzo

Supreme [H]ardness
Joined
Feb 15, 2004
Messages
7,380
The problem with nuclear rocket has always been the risk of them exploding within the Earth's atmosphere. Still not sure if we're there yet from a quality standpoint.

Upside of this design is that for a one way trip the engine could act as a power source on Mars.

Or they should send supplies ahead of the people, including a small nuclear reactor so that they will have a power source and supplies available when they arrive.
 

Mystikos

n00b
Joined
Nov 24, 2008
Messages
14
cosmic rays? this is complete science fiction horse shit. None of the NASA astronauts that they claimed had been to space ever developed any radiation related cancer diseases to public knowledge, many OLD PEOPLE now relatively healthy and others dying of natural causes. I dont care what people CLAIM, humans are lying apes, but tangible evidence like surviving the van allen radiation belts in a pre 80s tech tin can? Look I know I played a lot of Quake and WoW in my day but nope - not that retarded.
 

bugleyman

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Oct 27, 2010
Messages
1,227
What was old, is new again. I think the reason for the mission to Mars is to prove we can move people to another planet, prepare for the end of the world that might happen a few million years from now....

Or a few months from now. Any number of very plausible things could easily wipe out humanity as long as we remain confined to a single planet.

Which, come to think of it, might be for the best...
 

bugleyman

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Oct 27, 2010
Messages
1,227
Really now? If you think going to the moon for the first time in the past was anything like Mars now, it's probably not worth trying to explain the difference to you.

I'm probably going to regret this, but...enlighten us? Because it seems rather similar.
 

bugleyman

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Oct 27, 2010
Messages
1,227
cosmic rays? this is complete science fiction horse shit. None of the NASA astronauts that they claimed had been to space ever developed any radiation related cancer diseases to public knowledge, many OLD PEOPLE now relatively healthy and others dying of natural causes. I dont care what people CLAIM, humans are lying apes, but tangible evidence like surviving the van allen radiation belts in a pre 80s tech tin can? Look I know I played a lot of Quake and WoW in my day but nope - not that retarded.

So your incredulity trumps observed phenomena...because? I just...I can't even. :facepalm:
 

NeoNemesis

2[H]4U
Joined
Mar 10, 2004
Messages
2,466
Or they should send supplies ahead of the people, including a small nuclear reactor so that they will have a power source and supplies available when they arrive.

That adds cost and weight. If it's a one way trip why not use the spacecraft itself as a preliminary base?
 

Galvin

2[H]4U
Joined
Jan 22, 2002
Messages
2,697
If they can keep the ship under power. You can have artificial gravity. I keep seeing stuff about weightlessness causes huge issues. Yet all you have to do is spin an object to create artificial gravity.
 

umeng2002

Gawd
Joined
May 23, 2008
Messages
923
GET YOUR ASS TO MARS!

I really don't understand why NASA is trying so hard to go there...

NASA wanted to be a science first organization... not really a manned exploration organization.

Add on the government, swamp red tape and you have NASA in the current situation it's in now: Forever bouncing between the Moon and Mars with no rocket to actually get into space.
 

Tekara

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Jan 6, 2003
Messages
1,971
If they can keep the ship under power. You can have artificial gravity. I keep seeing stuff about weightlessness causes huge issues. Yet all you have to do is spin an object to create artificial gravity.

NASA played around with this concept before, unfortunately there are too many quirks involved for it to actually be useful. Some of the biggest ones involve getting the astronaut up to speed without injury from hitting objects such as walls. This causes a lot of issues with the usable space inside the craft, transitioning from a non-moving part would be akin to trying to jump into a carnival gravitron after the floor dropped. Another biggie is that movement would be restricted to the direction of spin, if you move against the spin you reduce the centripetal force exerted upon you up to the point that if you match or exceed the spin you'll become weightless and risk injury from floating up and having a moving wall slam into you.
 

Derfnofred

Gawd
Joined
Dec 11, 2009
Messages
606
What was old, is new again.

It so happens that a lot of the early engineering/design concepts developed were very fundamentally solid. The thing we've advanced so much in the past 40+ years is our ability to *realize* many of these design concepts (and think up new ones that are presently past our capability).
 

oldmanbal

2[H]4U
Joined
Aug 27, 2010
Messages
2,612
Honestly Nasa has been really limited ever since funding was shelved decades ago. I don't see how they are going to compete with companies like spaceX, other than possibly working in conjunction with them, which if we're honest, would be in a limited capacity.
 

IdiotInCharge

NVIDIA SHILL
Joined
Jun 13, 2003
Messages
14,679
Honestly Nasa has been really limited ever since funding was shelved decades ago. I don't see how they are going to compete with companies like spaceX, other than possibly working in conjunction with them, which if we're honest, would be in a limited capacity.

Working with companies like SpaceX is literally the plan.
 

Nukester

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Mar 21, 2016
Messages
1,429
It so happens that a lot of the early engineering/design concepts developed were very fundamentally solid. The thing we've advanced so much in the past 40+ years is our ability to *realize* many of these design concepts (and think up new ones that are presently past our capability).

Absolutely and well said. The Human Calculators were imaginative and saw things that a machine will never see.
 

Nukester

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Mar 21, 2016
Messages
1,429
Or a few months from now. Any number of very plausible things could easily wipe out humanity as long as we remain confined to a single planet.

Which, come to think of it, might be for the best...

Sometimes I think so... but mostly I see a pretty good world around me. Within my house. lol
 

WhoMe

Gawd
Joined
Jan 3, 2018
Messages
827
Sounds like there could be a business opportunity here...assembling said reactors in orbit and selling them to NASA, ESA, CNSA etc. Assembling them up there removes the worry of them exploding on the way up.
 

cdabc123

2[H]4U
Joined
Jun 21, 2016
Messages
3,991
Sounds like there could be a business opportunity here...assembling said reactors in orbit and selling them to NASA, ESA, CNSA etc. Assembling them up there removes the worry of them exploding on the way up.

moon base? :p
 

WhoMe

Gawd
Joined
Jan 3, 2018
Messages
827
moon base? :p
Too far away, keep things local ;). Of course I wasn't suggesting this is something we could be doing now, more a future opportunity; but I'm guessing the first orbital manufacturing businesses are going to be heavily government subsidized one way or the other (because of the big initial costs).
 

jacuzz1

Supreme [H]ardness
Joined
Feb 14, 2004
Messages
7,086
GET YOUR ASS TO MARS!

I really don't understand why NASA is trying so hard to go there...

They have discovered something there very valuable and the Chinese know about it too.
 

Chapeau

Gawd
Joined
Jul 17, 2016
Messages
753
Probably because it makes for a nice politically attractive goal to secure funding?
 
Top