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  1. #1
    Captain IMForeman's Avatar
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    Default NASA's "Prometheus" program in jeopardy.

    Concerns over Nuclear reactors in space may ground NASA's real-life Prometheus before it's off the drawing board.

    Personally, I have no problem with using nuclear reactors in space... I think most opposition is just reactionary.

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  2. #2
    Captain Col. Newman's Avatar
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    Default Re: NASA's "Prometheus" program in jeopardy.

    I really hate people that say that Nuclear power is dangerous, it perfectly safe as long as you maintain it, and efficient and practical too

  3. #3
    Major iLemon's Avatar
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    Default Re: NASA's "Prometheus" program in jeopardy.

    But what if something goes wrong? There's no guarantee that it wont, accidents happen whether you like them or not, better safe than sorry.


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  4. #4
    Captain Col. Newman's Avatar
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    Default Re: NASA's "Prometheus" program in jeopardy.

    if it's in space then it's not that big of a deal, space it full of radiation

  5. #5
    Major iLemon's Avatar
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    Default Re: NASA's "Prometheus" program in jeopardy.

    People can be pretty paranoid It seems like a pretty good idea but this bits got me a bit worried-

    He says these by-products of fission could effectively "blind" space telescopes such as Hubble, Spitzer, and Swift if the reactors operated near the Earth, as they did in the past. "We didn't see a benefit of this technology for any kind of pure science that peers outside the solar system or does fundamental physics tests," he says.
    If theres anyway around it then I'm all for it. I love space exploration and this seems like a terrific idea.


    Gate City - My humorous Stargate site made when I was young, enjoy!
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  6. #6
    Staff Sergeant gallywag's Avatar
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    Default Re: NASA's "Prometheus" program in jeopardy.

    but isnt nasa designing a new engin/reactor the thermol ion engin i remember reading about it on the nasa page some where

  7. #7
    First Lieutenant 6thMonolith's Avatar
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    Default Re: NASA's "Prometheus" program in jeopardy.

    Doesn't NASA store its Nuclear Generators during launch in a way that they can be reused if the rocket crashes? I think I read something like that on the other (real)Prometheus thread.
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  8. #8
    Chief Master Sergeant ColdZero's Avatar
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    Default Re: NASA's "Prometheus" program in jeopardy.

    People are all crazy about Nuclear reactors in space. They are perfectly safe. They aren't going to start the reaction here on earth, when the ship is in orbit the reactor will be brought online. If it did explode on the launchpad, there isn't that much radioactive material. The nuclear reactor they want to use would be more radioactive as time goes on. Plutonium reactors on the other had are far more radioactive when they are on the launchpad then the end of their lives, and these have already been used on a few probes.
    Before this day is done, I will feed on your buttery defiance

  9. #9

    Default Re: NASA's "Prometheus" program in jeopardy.

    Asteroid 1950DA is ½ mile in diameter and slated to impact earth in 2880.
    If we are to address this and other threats we will need the speed and endurance of nuclear propulsion.
    No one can claim that nuclear is risk free, conversely not going nuclear has its own risks.
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  10. #10
    Major Eoin's Avatar
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    Default Re: NASA's "Prometheus" program in jeopardy.

    Cool I made a thread about that , well we dont have to worry about 1950DA because by 2800 we'll have advanced enough to deflect any asteroids that is endangering this planet. Unless we get hit by a mile long one in the mean time i wouldnt worry about it. As for the nuke reactor in space who cares it cant harm us, people are only complaining about it for the sake of complaining about something
    The doctor told me Im insane, thank God! its so much better then being outsane!



  11. #11
    First Lieutenant Three PhDs's Avatar
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    Default Re: NASA's "Prometheus" program in jeopardy.

    Quote Originally Posted by ColdZero
    People are all crazy about Nuclear reactors in space. They are perfectly safe. They aren't going to start the reaction here on earth, when the ship is in orbit the reactor will be brought online. If it did explode on the launchpad, there isn't that much radioactive material. The nuclear reactor they want to use would be more radioactive as time goes on. Plutonium reactors on the other had are far more radioactive when they are on the launchpad then the end of their lives, and these have already been used on a few probes.
    Never heard of a reactor like that, though haven't gone into much detail with reactors anyway. Care to elaborate?

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  12. #12
    First Lieutenant
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    Default Re: NASA's "Prometheus" program in jeopardy.

    Plutonium reactors on the other had are far more radioactive when they are on the launchpad then the end of their lives, and these have already been used on a few probes.
    Plutonium reactors?
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  13. #13
    Captain Darkstar's Avatar
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    Default Re: NASA's "Prometheus" program in jeopardy.

    i think that people are extrememly paranoid about neuclear reactors, radiation in space is not a problem and getting them up there is about the only risk there would be to the general population which in its self is small, we're not talking about bombs in space that they would use on other countries i really fail to see the problem with it at all.

    1. its safe to use in space and on earth if maintained with care, which is becoming safer every year.

    2. creates huge amounts of power to sustain the planet.

    3. next to no atmospheric contamination with the only exception being radioactive material which is treated in the safest manner.

    4. advances in neuclear energy will open the human race to all sorts of new developments and will most certainly help in manned sapce exploration area, such as mars and so on.

    i think the only drawbacks are it is expensive to use but im not the expert but in the long run the rewards are alot more to earth.
    For all the pollution woes on Earth, will the Human race end up taking those problems into space in the future?

    We can all call our ships Sports Utility Ships to curtail the carbon emissions and hypersleep at night

  14. #14
    Chief Master Sergeant Indum'kra's Avatar
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    Default Re: NASA's "Prometheus" program in jeopardy.

    Well if there's real-life prometheus programe, then we just have to make real-life naquadah
    I bet the Gateworld NASA ain't too happy you know. All that money for nothing.
    You go ahead, I'll be right behind you (In an F-302)
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  15. #15
    Second Lieutenant
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    Default Re: NASA's "Prometheus" program in jeopardy.

    Quote Originally Posted by McKay's girl
    But what if something goes wrong? There's no guarantee that it wont, accidents happen whether you like them or not, better safe than sorry.
    Yes accidents can happen but to follow the mantra of "better safe than sorry" would mean we'd never go into space again.

    Anyone worried about the dangers of nuclear power for any use, be it space travel or to power our own society as opposed to relying on frakking oil, needs to look at the US Navy.

  16. #16
    First Lieutenant Three PhDs's Avatar
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    Default Re: NASA's "Prometheus" program in jeopardy.

    Quote Originally Posted by FeloniousMonk
    Anyone worried about the dangers of nuclear power for any use, be it space travel or to power our own society as opposed to relying on frakking oil, needs to look at the US Navy.
    A reactor in a carrier is somewhat different from a reactor in a space probe.

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  17. #17
    Second Lieutenant Zekk's Avatar
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    Default Re: NASA's "Prometheus" program in jeopardy.

    Hasnt any body heard of the plasma engine thats underway, i mean it would basicly mean
    a real (stargate version) of the prometheus, if the energy is handled properly. (not properly = Big BOOM!!!!)

  18. #18
    Second Lieutenant
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    Default Re: NASA's "Prometheus" program in jeopardy.

    Quote Originally Posted by Darkstar
    i think that people are extrememly paranoid about neuclear reactors, radiation in space is not a problem and getting them up there is about the only risk there would be to the general population which in its self is small, we're not talking about bombs in space that they would use on other countries i really fail to see the problem with it at all.

    1. its safe to use in space and on earth if maintained with care, which is becoming safer every year.

    2. creates huge amounts of power to sustain the planet.

    3. next to no atmospheric contamination with the only exception being radioactive material which is treated in the safest manner.

    4. advances in neuclear energy will open the human race to all sorts of new developments and will most certainly help in manned sapce exploration area, such as mars and so on.

    i think the only drawbacks are it is expensive to use but im not the expert but in the long run the rewards are alot more to earth.
    I'm not an expert in this by any means, but as far as I can tell, the problem is that if there's a problem while it's in the atmosphere, you could spread radiation over quite a large portion of the planet. Granted it's not very much, vut it could still be dangerous. Don't forget about the lead they use to stop gamma radiation from leaking out - that's also poisonous and you don't want to get any of that into any living thing since it's a heavy metal and won't go away. Lead poisoning has been a problem in some parts of the world where the lead got into water, which then was absorbed by fish who were then consumed by people. There's all kinds of dangers you have to consider, especially with nuclear power.

  19. #19
    Captain Jarnin's Avatar
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    Default Re: NASA's "Prometheus" program in jeopardy.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sum1
    I'm not an expert in this by any means, but as far as I can tell, the problem is that if there's a problem while it's in the atmosphere, you could spread radiation over quite a large portion of the planet. Granted it's not very much, vut it could still be dangerous. Don't forget about the lead they use to stop gamma radiation from leaking out - that's also poisonous and you don't want to get any of that into any living thing since it's a heavy metal and won't go away. Lead poisoning has been a problem in some parts of the world where the lead got into water, which then was absorbed by fish who were then consumed by people. There's all kinds of dangers you have to consider, especially with nuclear power.
    Nasa has been sending plutonium up on spacecrafts for a long time. The first Radioisotope Thermoelectric Generator was sent up in 1961. These RTGs are basically nuclear batteries that slowly lose their production capabilities over time as the isotope fuel is fissled away.
    Nasa really knows how to build RTGs as well. For example:
    Quote Originally Posted by Wikipedia.org
    There have been five known accidents involving RTG powered spacecraft. The first two were launch failures involving U.S. Transit and Nimbus satellites. Two more were failures of Soviet Cosmos missions containing RTG-powered lunar rovers. Finally, the failure of the Apollo 13 mission meant that the Lunar Module, which carried the RTG, reentered the atmosphere and burnt up over Fiji. The RTG itself survived reentry of the Earth's atmosphere intact, plunging into the Tonga trench in the Pacific Ocean. The US Department of Energy has conducted seawater tests and determined that the graphite casing, which was designed to withstand reentry, is stable and no release of plutonium will occur. Subsequent investigations have found no increase in the natural background radiation in the area.
    Nasa designed the RTG to withstand reentry intact. If they can do that with a nuclear battery the size of a refrigerator, they can design a low-power reactor that can survive as well.

    I think the nuclear scares of the 60's are still bleeding over into modern times. For example, I own a keychain which glows in the dark. Inside the colored plastic keychain is a borosilicate glass tube containing a small amount of tritium. Tritium is an isotope of hydrogen, and has a halflife of about 12 years. Tritium decay emits an electron (beta radiation) which excites phosphorus coating the inside of the glass tube, and it glows white.
    The nifty thing about these glow sticks compared to the chemical ones you buy around halloween, is that where those stop glowing in a day or two, these will glow for 10-15 years.

    The glow rings aren't available for sale in the U.S. because tritium is a radioactive material, which is commonly used in making hydrogen bombs. The interesting thing is that tritium is also used for illuminating rifle sights so hunters can hunt in low-light conditions.

    So rifles with tritium illuminated sights = Ok.
    But keychains with tritium illuminated colorful glow = Terrorist.

    There was recently a breakthrough in what is being called "Betavoltaic Devices". In a nutshell, it's a tritium glow stick, but instead of glowing it produces electricity.
    The idea is that your laptop runs on batteries, but you have to plug it in to recharge the batteries every night.
    With one of these betavoltaic devices in your laptop, it would charge the batteries as they drain, and you'd wouldn't need to plug your laptop into an AC outlet for 10-15 years. Same with your iPod, cellphone, or whatever digital gizmo that you could think of.
    But then you do a little research on "betavoltaics" and find that it's a NUCLEAR FISSION battery. Even though beta radiation is relatively harmless outside the body (don't eat tritium kids!), it's got that pesty "nuclear" word in it, which is known for turning people into lepers, zombies and mutants.


    Sadly, I knew that the NASA Prometheus project would run into problems. It's entire mission is designed around building a nuclear reactor that can sustain Ion-like drive systems and sustain probes for decades: In other words, trips to the outer solar system. That's not part of Bush's "vision for space".

    Bush wants to spend the NASA budget on getting us back to the moon (before China gets there), and getting us to Mars (to say we can still beat anyone in space). It's a propaganda stunt, not science, just like Apollo was. Luckily, Apollo actually produced alot of science for the dollars spent, so I have hopes for Bush's vision, but it'll probably get killed in an administration or two.
    I already see people *****ing about it going to cost 100 billion over the next 12 years, while the US has a ballooning deficit and a war that costs 1 billion a day. If we get a moderate republican or conservative democrat in office in 2008, Bush's vision for NASA could very well go down the drain.
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  20. #20

    Default Re: NASA's "Prometheus" program in jeopardy.

    I sure hope not. I think it's about time we got seriously into space.

    And as for nuclear reactors in space... I don't see any significant reason why it'd be dangerous. A small amount of Uranium-235 in a sealed container (a really strong one like that graphite one around the RTG) will not hurt anyone even if something goes horribly horribly wrong. And besides, how often *does* something go wrong? It's not like we're going to have to do hundreds of launches, just a couple would do fine. And since most of our rockets have failure rates well below 1% (and the russian ones are even better, go figure), the chances of a catastrophe are tiny. And once we have it up there, we can prime the reactor in a really high orbit, and hell, we can put chemical boosters on it so if something goes horribly wrong we can fling it into the sun. And we can just have a really long cable that plugs it into the ISS. Ther ewe go, no more annoying solar panels to get jammed! =P

    I also think that we should build more nuke plants on earth. And as for what to do with the waste... well I've been thinking. Why not shoot it into the sun? I realise that this may sound like a somewhat ignorant solution, but if we can work out a safe way of getting it into space, the rest should be easy. A lot easier than trying to get into orbit. All we have to do is HIT a massive ball of fire. How hard can that be? The problem, of course, is getting it into space in the first place. How far off do you think a heavy lift ship is?

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