Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Aerospace A traveling-wave engine to power deep space travel

  1. Sep 16, 2004 #1

    Ivan Seeking

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2004-09/danl-ate091604.php
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 16, 2004 #2

    drag

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor

  4. Sep 17, 2004 #3

    LURCH

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor

    Darn, I was hoping this was something that would eliminate radioactive materials from deepspace probes! Still, sure looks like good news.
     
  5. Sep 18, 2004 #4

    drag

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor

    What's wrong about radioisotopes on deep space probes ?!
    It's not like they're in a clean room up there. :wink:
     
  6. Sep 21, 2004 #5
    I agree, what's the big deal with radioactive materials in space??? This traveling wave generator is a novel idea, don't discard it just because it has the taboo "radio-" prefix in it's description. What's wrong with using radioactive power sources, like the SAFE fission reactor or any of the nuclear reactors designed and build by the soviets? Also, NASA's Project Prometheus is looking at radioisotope power generation systems. It really agrivates me that educated people are still deathly afraid of nuclear energy, simply because it carries a taboo.

    Let's face the fact that deep space missions are going to require a large amount of energy. The only reliable systems with a large enough power to mass ratio are going to be radioactive. I say bravo to these researchers for pushing ahead with radioactive power generation.
     
  7. Sep 21, 2004 #6

    drag

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor

  8. Sep 21, 2004 #7

    LURCH

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor

    Launching them causes public outcry. Most people have no objection to radioisotopes in space, but having them sitting on a launchpad atop several tons of high explosives, or ripping through the atmosphere several miles high at mach 15 makes some folks underneath nervous. The problem is simply this; if we keep launching radioactive materials in rockets, then sooner or later there will be an accidental release. It's a certainty.

    This tech looks promissing and I'm all for it, but the title got my hopes up that we had found a way to get rid of the radiation in launch vehicles, a goal toward which we must continue to strive. With a bit of luck, we might get a new method working before an accident happens, but the odds get worse the longer we continue this risky practice.
     
  9. Sep 22, 2004 #8

    drag

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor

    Well, I don't mean to sound harsh or not PC, but space is a very
    tough environment and space missions face many challenges.
    If we want to see some results I think we should push it with full force
    and not question or hesitate because of every possible risk.

    That said, I'm all for maximum precautions aspecialy in dealing with
    radioactive materials, like lauchnes from very isolated locations and so on.

    Live long and prosper.
     
  10. Sep 22, 2004 #9

    Ivan Seeking

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    I think Lurch has an excellent point. There will be an accident.

    If I wasn't such a lover of science and space exploration I might be more concerned about real risk than potential discovery.
     
  11. Sep 23, 2004 #10

    drag

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor

    That's more of a meaning/value/purpose of life type of discussion
    that we should probably reserve for the Philosophy forum... :wink: :biggrin:
    (If only I had time for those long and fascinating discussions again... :frown: )
     
Know someone interested in this topic? Share this thread via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook

Have something to add?



Similar Discussions: A traveling-wave engine to power deep space travel
  1. Tube railing travel (Replies: 0)

  2. Power of engine (Replies: 6)

Loading...