DARPA wants ideas for a nuclear rocket for missions in Earth-moon space

Wolfshadw

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Apr 1, 2020
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There was already an outcry prior to the launch of the Cassini mission (if I remember correctly), but NASA has been using nuclear energy in space since the early 1960s.

-Wolf sends
 
Nov 19, 2021
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I am aware of the past experience but that was with nuclear material of far smaller size. This calls for a nuclear reactor containing 20% low enriched uranium and would be thousands of times more powerful and potentially dangerous than a mere beta emitting radioisotope thermal generator. That's my concern.
 
Oct 21, 2019
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I am aware of the past experience but that was with nuclear material of far smaller size. This calls for a nuclear reactor containing 20% low enriched uranium and would be thousands of times more powerful and potentially dangerous than a mere beta emitting radioisotope thermal generator. That's my concern.
No, the uranium fuel in a NTP rocket when launched from Earth has much lower levels of radioactivity than that of the Radio-isotope Thermal Generators (RTGs) which of course have already been launched safely on numerous occasions. New unused Uranium fuel is only weakly radioactive, it's principally an alpha emitter (https://www.epa.gov/radiation/radionuclide-basics-uranium) and can be safely held in your hands (I've done so). It's only when the reactor is first taken critical and generates power that the fuel becomes highly radioactive and a potential hazard, and that's only done on a NTP rocket once it's been safely launched from Earth on a conventional chemical rocket and is safely in Space. There's a lot of misunderstanding around, some people freak out as soon as they hear the word nuclear ;)
 
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Oct 21, 2019
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Good news that the US is finally getting serious about developing nuclear thermal propulsion rockets which offer the benefit of much shorter journey times e.g to Mars. It's just sad that it's been delayed for over 50 years since the technology was successfully demonstrated back in the late 1960s with NERVA. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NERVA
 
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Jan 11, 2020
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Green’s hate nuclear power but just think how much worse shape we would be in had those power plants been replaced by fossil fuels.
They are dogmatic fools.
 

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