Jump to content


Photo

To Mars By A-Bomb


  • Please log in to reply
11 replies to this topic

#1 Thomas James

Thomas James
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 844 posts
  • Camera Operator

Posted 10 February 2010 - 03:02 PM

In this thread we will discuss the BBC documentary about the 1958-1965 top secret United States Air Force Orion Project designed to send men to Saturn with nuclear propulsion. Also included in the documentary is an interview by Arthur C. Clarke who wanted to feature nuclear propulsion by atomic explosions in his movie 2001 a Space Odyssey but was forbidden by Stanley Kubrik to film these special effects. Also relevant topics will include the modern NASA Prometheus project which has already spent 400 million dollars to send a nuclear propelled ion rocket to the icy moons of Jupiter, recent Russian plans for a manned atomic mission to Mars and Obama's decision to cancel the 2020 launch of a manned chemical propelled rocket to the moon so that he can spend money developing more advanced propulsion systems capable of a flight to Mars.

Anybody interested can download the video off of the internet.

Edited by Thomas James, 10 February 2010 - 03:04 PM.

  • 0

#2 Paul Bruening

Paul Bruening

    (deceased)

  • Sustaining Members
  • 2858 posts
  • Producer
  • Oxford, Mississippi

Posted 10 February 2010 - 03:09 PM

Okay, Thomas. Help me out here. Don't A-bombs blow stuff up? Don't they irradiate and kill living stuff? Can you blow up matter slow enough to push matter without damaging the matter you're trying to push? I'm not being sarcastic. I really don't know how these things are supposed to work.

A link to the doc would be nice.
  • 0

#3 Thomas James

Thomas James
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 844 posts
  • Camera Operator

Posted 10 February 2010 - 04:05 PM

By that logic the Sun should have blown up the Earth. The Orion rocket ejects a bomb out of the rear and waits until the bomb is 300 feet away before exploding it. Minature bombs are used that are equivalent to 100 tons of TNT rather than the 30,000 tons of Hiroshima. A giant shield is used as a pusher plate with shock absorbers to dampen the impulse. Fallout is reduced by not kicking up a lot of dirt and by using cleaner fusion bombs rather than dirty fission bombs. The rocket is launched at the south pole away from population centers and or from space where nobody cares about radiation.
  • 0

#4 Saul Rodgar

Saul Rodgar
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 1682 posts
  • Cinematographer

Posted 10 February 2010 - 04:09 PM

Okay, Thomas. Help me out here. Don't A-bombs blow stuff up? Don't they irradiate and kill living stuff? Can you blow up matter slow enough to push matter without damaging the matter you're trying to push? I'm not being sarcastic. I really don't know how these things are supposed to work.

A link to the doc would be nice.


It is how the energy is focused and contained what makes the difference between success and catastrophic failure in any type of combustion or fusion power, including current solid fuel rocket power technology. If the force of the combustion is directed behind the vehicle, it propels it. If, however, the combustion is directed towards the vehicle itself, then it destroys it, as it happened most unfortunately to the Space Shuttle Challenger and its crew. While I certainly wouldn't want to be behind any rocket thrusters, or any internal combustion engine for that matter, that doesn't mean they are not relatively safe to use and propel vehicles.

http://en.wikipedia....lenger_disaster



I think we all would agree that nuclear propulsion is currently used by military submarines and other surface vessels with very good safety records, that is, without blowing the ships to smithereens in the process, killing the crew or leaving a wake of destruction behind.


http://en.wikipedia....lear_propulsion


The disposal of spent nuclear fuel is another matter, and I will agree that seems to be an obvious Achilles heel of nuclear power, besides nuclear reactor accidents i.e Chernobyl and Three Mile Island. That said, and with the current number of nuclear reactors in operation around the world, the number of incidents is tiny in percentage, though they are pretty disastrous when they do occur.

http://en.wikipedia....rnobyl_disaster


At least theoretically speaking, and without being a nuclear engineer, it seems it would be possible to power a space ship by using nuclear fusion thrusters, once the kinks are worked out.

http://en.wikipedia....i/Fusion_rocket

http://en.wikipedia....ear_propulsion)

Edited by Saul Rodgar, 10 February 2010 - 04:12 PM.

  • 0

#5 David Mullen ASC

David Mullen ASC
  • Sustaining Members
  • 19765 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • Los Angeles

Posted 10 February 2010 - 05:15 PM

There's a whole book out there on Project Orion, pretty interesting to read. In fact, the Orion shuttle in "2001" was a homage by Kubrick to "2001" science advisor Freeman Dyson, who was a key developer of Project Orion.

Lots of problems that could not be solved with Orion. For one thing, making hundreds of tiny atomic bombs was a security nightmare, and the other problem was jurisdictional -- the U.S. declared that space exploration was under civilian control by NASA but that atomic weapons were under military control, so it could never be worked out how a civilian space program was going to use atomic bombs.

Not to mention the radiation fall-out problem if this method was used to launch from the surface of the Earth rather than from orbit. They never got beyond testing a small-scale non-atomic version down by San Diego, were General Atomics was headquartered.

But the book discusses the payload problem of being limited to chemical rockets, that at some point, to travel farther, you're expending more energy lifting the fuel than the rocket itself.

The book was written by Freeman Dyson's son, George:
http://www.amazon.co...-...0181&sr=8-1

Kubrick just dropped the whole idea of Discovery being propelled by a series of small atomic explosions because it didn't seem like it would look interesting on film, sort of "farting" one's way across the solar system. He decided to leave it ambiguous.
  • 0

#6 John Sprung

John Sprung
  • Sustaining Members
  • 4635 posts
  • Other

Posted 10 February 2010 - 07:24 PM

Minature bombs are used that are equivalent to 100 tons of TNT rather than the 30,000 tons of Hiroshima.


That would be way less than the critical mass. The WWII bombs were just a little larger than the bare minimum needed to sustain a chain reaction.



-- J.S.
  • 0

#7 K Borowski

K Borowski
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 3905 posts
  • Camera Operator
  • I.A.T.S.E. Local # 600 Eastern Region

Posted 11 February 2010 - 02:35 PM

First off:

Nuclear-bomb powered propulsion is a relic of the 1950s. Current technology involves either nuclear electric or nuclear thermal options.

In the former, a small, self-contained nuclear reactor generates electricity to power electric engines for propulsion.

In the latter a small nuclear reactor (contained in the engine itself) supplies energy to the crew and heats the hot expanding hydrogren gas to provide propulsive power.


Talking about "A-bomb" (replaced by H-bomb over 50 years ago) rocket technologies is like talking about Twilight Zone/Marvin Martian rocket designs.


Of course, in the U.S.A. the president has just about made all manned rocket technologies obsolete for the duration of his administration. Typical post-Kennedy Democrat A$$Hole. Won't be getting my vote a second time around.

Now the Fuk-ken astronauts will need to ferry a ride to the space station with the Russians. The space shuttle is gong to be retired without any replacement vehicle in place. Grade A decision.
  • 0

#8 Thomas James

Thomas James
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 844 posts
  • Camera Operator

Posted 11 February 2010 - 03:32 PM

Of course current technology offers more compelling choices. Nuclear electric ion propelled rockets lack the thrust of atomic explosions but they have good fuel economy and can slowly build up momentum. Gas core and nuclear fusion reactors offer a lot of thrust and good fuel economy but are very high technology devices. Developing countries like Iran, Pakistan and India contemplating a manned Mars mission would have to use atomic bomb propulsion because they simply do not have the technology to build an advanced nuclear reactor. However in order for the world to accept this they would have agree to give up all of their nuclear weapons by exploding all of them in space during their journey to Mars and of course any Earth based atomic launch would be prohibited but would be the responsibility of the International community which would provide the heavy lift rockets to get the Mars craft in orbit and would supervise the Mars mission under close scrutiny.
  • 0

#9 Thomas James

Thomas James
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 844 posts
  • Camera Operator

Posted 11 February 2010 - 08:24 PM

One of the advantages of nuclear powered rocket engines is that it allows the Democratization of space travel which means that anyone that wants to go up into space will have the opportunity. With reusable and recycled nuclear rocket engines and fuel that can be reused up to 100 times it will only cost a hundred dollars to send a pound of payload up into orbit.
  • 0

#10 John Sprung

John Sprung
  • Sustaining Members
  • 4635 posts
  • Other

Posted 12 February 2010 - 05:10 PM

With reusable and recycled nuclear rocket engines and fuel that can be reused up to 100 times it will only cost a hundred dollars to send a pound of payload up into orbit.


If that were to happen, imagine how the problem of space junk would be compounded..... ;-)

BTW, Dish network has a camera on one of their geosynchronous satellites (my guess is 110 West) aimed down at the earth. They have it routed to channel 212. Alas, the resolution ain't so great.





-- J.S.
  • 0

#11 Thomas James

Thomas James
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 844 posts
  • Camera Operator

Posted 12 February 2010 - 07:13 PM

For a slightly higher cost and with nuclear rocket technology you could opt to send your payload into higher Earth orbit or even into Lunar orbit where space is still wide open. With chemical rocket technology symbolically there can only be one Neil Armstrong who lands on the moon and this feat will never be repeated. However with nuclear rocket technology space travel will be available in our lifetime to anyone who is interested. Even older people do not have to give up their dream of going to the Moon because older astronauts are the best canditates for radiation exposure.
  • 0

#12 Thomas James

Thomas James
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 844 posts
  • Camera Operator

Posted 12 February 2010 - 07:34 PM

I would think that to be a canditate for a nuclear space mission would require more skills than just the ability to operate a camera however working on a crew of a Hollywood movie set such as 2001 would be excellent experience as long as the Director attempts to make the movie scientifically accurate.
  • 0


Rig Wheels Passport

Paralinx LLC

Aerial Filmworks

Willys Widgets

Broadcast Solutions Inc

Gamma Ray Digital Inc

Wooden Camera

rebotnix Technologies

Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS

The Slider

Ritter Battery

Metropolis Post

CineTape

CineLab

Glidecam

Visual Products

Opal

Abel Cine

Tai Audio

Technodolly

FJS International, LLC

Technodolly

Ritter Battery

Broadcast Solutions Inc

Willys Widgets

Wooden Camera

The Slider

FJS International, LLC

rebotnix Technologies

Tai Audio

Rig Wheels Passport

Gamma Ray Digital Inc

Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS

Opal

Metropolis Post

Visual Products

Aerial Filmworks

CineLab

CineTape

Abel Cine

Paralinx LLC

Glidecam