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back to article US spaceflight review suffers attack of the Twitters

The US's Obama-prompted human spaceflight review has opened its doors to public participation. A dedicated website allows the unwashed masses to keep tabs on the independent committee's ruminations and chip in their two bits' worth. The site invites comments and suggestions which might help chairman Norman Augustine and his " …

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Anonymous Coward

Snakes!

John_t_wombat1983: hav teh leed astronot say "i iz sick of all dese snakes on dis godam spaceship!"

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Trouble Makers

What the world really needs is to get away from rocket engines (controlled explosions) and work towards multipurpose engines attached to a lifting body. All the technology is there and has been for a while, just no budget to explore a final design.

Watching the latest ESA launch on The Sky At Night last night, the main concern with rockets is ultimately "will this one explode". Thats not the right approach, especially with human cargo.

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Alert

bunch of idiots...

with questions Like:

Will NASA ever experiment with nuclear power in space in regards to nuclear powered space crafts, or do we have to wait until the russians do it first?

I 'think I'll give it a miss...

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Anonymous Coward

JackDaKid1994:

why nut ask georg lucass for how to do it? Hes had spaceships fur years!!

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Tom

Mr Pringle

There are currently no alternatives to rocket engines for achieving orbital velocity outside of the atmosphere. Acceleration within the atmosphere is severely limited by atmospheric friction. Even with fancy hybrids, the vast majority of acceleration happens in a vacuum, and that means rockets. A cylindrical tank with engines on the end is the simplest way to do this.

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Tom
Silver badge
Joke

@Tom

Nonsense! The US government has had dilithium crystals since the Roswell incident. All this rocket nonsense is just a conspiracy to keep us stuck on this rock.

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Boffin

@AC (bunch of idiots...)

Leaving aside the ignorance of the fact that the Russians have already, in fact, "done it first" (some of their Kosmos satellites were powered by nuclear reactors, Kosmos 954 causing a bit of a diplomatic oopsie when it came down in northern Canada) trying to chide NASA to be more aggressive in developing space nuclear power is hardly idiotic. For any trip to the outer solar system, nuclear power is pretty much necessary (sun power drops off as distance from the sun squared making solar panels unwieldy and chemical power just doesn't have the needed oomph), for power needs larger than an RTG (nuclear battery) can supply, this pretty much leaves you with a reactor as the only way of supplying the energy needed.

Reactors are a compact, low mass, source of power in large quantity. If you pair this with a very efficient, but power hungry, reaction motor like VASIMR (a type of engine that I am rather impressed with) and you could end up *decreasing* the radiation exposure of a crew on a Mars mission, for example. How does using a reactor _decrease_ radiation exposure, you may ask?

Simple, first you make sure there is an adequate shield between the crew and the reactor and then a powerful enough VASIMR could decrease the needed flight time from months down to weeks, which (in turn) cuts down the Cosmic Ray exposure which could otherwise be a serious radiation hazard for the crew. Space testing a reactor design is an important thing to do before we can once again venture beyond Low Earth Orbit.

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