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(NBC News)   Fusion? Really? C'mon guys. All you need is a little dilithium and a tippling Scotsman in a red shirt   (cosmiclog.nbcnews.com) divider line 75
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11663 clicks; posted to Main » on 05 Apr 2013 at 5:20 PM (1 year ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2013-04-05 03:21:10 PM  
And a wee bit o' whiskey.
 
2013-04-05 03:25:19 PM  
This is coming from a state that legalized weed this past fall.  Who wants to bet this is just the product of a scientist stoned for the first time?
 
2013-04-05 03:32:55 PM  

ShawnDoc: This is coming from a state that legalized weed this past fall.  Who wants to bet this is just the product of a scientist stoned for the first time?


Hydrogen fusion is doable.  There's a fusion plant being built in France.  And fusion is the only realistic way to ever explore the solar system with manned flight.
 
2013-04-05 03:45:13 PM  
The world has had fusion for decades. It's called the H-bomb. Basically you surround the fusion materials with a thick chocolaty coating of regular fission bombs and blow them to heck.

Readers of SF writers Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle are reminded (in The Mote in God's Eye, etc.) that it was even proposed long ago to propel space craft by exploding a-bombs behind them. You'd need a really good shield to protect space travelers from their engine of mass destruction, but in principle the bombs could drive the ship to substantial speeds.

You could even move an asteroid by exploding atom bombs on one side of the planetoid.

It seems to me that if you wanted a fusion-powered space craft, this simple and crude plan would suffice--you might not even need anything as difficult as bombs. A steady stream of ions driven to high speeds in a cyclotron and then aimed at a point behind the ship would be enough. The ship would have a massive shield to protect the payload and gas stores that would in some respects resemble a very robust solar power furnace. You'd basically only have to collect enough of the power generated to get the ship accelerated. This model would save you the trouble of containment and control. It would be a quasi-continuous H-bomb launch.

You might actually have some sort of structure to contain the H-gas, which could be ignited by beams of particles or super-powerful lasers fueled by traditional nuclear reactors.

Sophistication and safety features wouldn't be required in interplanetary or interstellar space, where you have lots of room and little resistance to motion until you reach high speeds.

Compared to the problem of building practical scaled-up fusion reactors on Earth, it's as simple as falling off a log.

Perhaps the power could be focused and beamed to Earth orbiting collectors which might turn it into power to make hydrogen fuel or microwave beams. Thus the same free-range "fusion bombs" could power space craft and ground or orbital stations at once, making them more efficient despite their crudeness.
 
2013-04-05 03:51:17 PM  

brantgoose: Readers of SF writers Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle are reminded (in The Mote in God's Eye, etc.) that it was even proposed long ago to propel space craft by exploding a-bombs behind them. You'd need a really good shield to protect space travelers from their engine of mass destruction, but in principle the bombs could drive the ship to substantial speeds.


That wasn't Mote.  That was Footfall, when they build an Orion.

But yes, the Orion project was an old idea.  But it's also a fission, not fusion, engine.  They were talking about manned missions to Saturn in the 1960s with that program.
 
2013-04-05 04:00:58 PM  
photos.imageevent.com
 
2013-04-05 04:04:59 PM  

GAT_00: They were talking about manned missions to Saturn in the 1960s with that program.


It was a good idea, too. Except you'd need to stockpile 100s of nukes for each trip.
 
2013-04-05 05:03:16 PM  
It's green!
 
2013-04-05 05:04:48 PM  
Dang! 4 in just a month. Best $5 I ever spent.
 
2013-04-05 05:22:53 PM  
The headline makes it sound like we're going to blow up Mars.

MARS biatchES.
 
2013-04-05 05:24:53 PM  
The timing was about right, I was looking to see if the researchers were named Kearney and Fuschida
 
2013-04-05 05:29:06 PM  

Treygreen13: The headline makes it sound like we're going to blow up Mars.

MARS biatchES.


Didn't some fifth graders scientists recently blow stuff up on the moon or something?
 
2013-04-05 05:29:11 PM  
FTA: "Now they just have to put the pieces together and see if they work."

Oh, well that's the easy part, right? It's as good as done then.
 
2013-04-05 05:29:16 PM  

Treygreen13: The headline makes it sound like we're going to blow up Mars.

MARS biatchES.


revenge on Marvin for his plots against earth
 
2013-04-05 05:31:28 PM  
Fusion?  I thought those starships were powered by matter/anti-matter.
 
2013-04-05 05:32:40 PM  

GAT_00: Hydrogen fusion is doable. There's a fusion plant being built in France.


And, everyone knows, the French never give up.
 
2013-04-05 05:34:09 PM  
you can fuse more than just hydrogen
 
2013-04-05 05:34:18 PM  
From the article:

fusion-powered

Harnessing fusion

tremendous gravitational pressure

Thermonuclear bombs

operate on a similar principle

magnetic field

fusion reaction

for a few millionths of a second

significant energy gain

My boss uses these phrases in our meetings. It's nauseating and wastes everyone's time.

/can't use dropbox
//has learned how to delete apps on her ipad
///not old
 
2013-04-05 05:39:23 PM  

Odd Bird: Fusion?  I thought those starships were powered by matter/anti-matter.


That is for the subspace field generated by the warp engines fir warp speeds.

Most of standard ops are fusion based as well as auxilary power, impulse engines etc etc.
 
2013-04-05 05:40:39 PM  
Billions upon billions of dollars have been spent on fusion energy research over the past half-century -

I love that the article makes it seem like billions of dollars over 50 years to create a near infinite energy source is a lot.

But you know, the military budget last year was $700 Billion, so whatever we got from that was 1,000 times more important.
 
2013-04-05 05:42:38 PM  
they are talking roughly 50,000 miles per hour
 
2013-04-05 05:43:21 PM  

GAT_00: brantgoose: Readers of SF writers Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle are reminded (in The Mote in God's Eye, etc.) that it was even proposed long ago to propel space craft by exploding a-bombs behind them. You'd need a really good shield to protect space travelers from their engine of mass destruction, but in principle the bombs could drive the ship to substantial speeds.

That wasn't Mote.  That was Footfall, when they build an Orion.

But yes, the Orion project was an old idea.  But it's also a fission, not fusion, engine.  They were talking about manned missions to Saturn in the 1960s with that program.


This ship used one of those:

i45.tinypic.com

See it get fired up at about 3:10. Really wish I could find the actual clip because they used one of my favorite Chemical Brothers tunes.

Was kinda bummed that series didn't get picked up.
 
2013-04-05 05:45:08 PM  
This is pretty cool. Other than the Orion project, it's the first viable "real world" fusion rocket that I've seen.
 
2013-04-05 05:46:40 PM  

GAT_00: Hydrogen fusion is doable.


We'll be seeing it in North Korea any day now.
 
2013-04-05 05:47:23 PM  

brantgoose: Readers of SF writers Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle are reminded (in The Mote in God's Eye, etc.) that it was even proposed long ago to propel space craft by exploding a-bombs behind them.


You mean Footfall?
 
2013-04-05 05:48:28 PM  

GAT_00: brantgoose: Readers of SF writers Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle are reminded (in The Mote in God's Eye, etc.) that it was even proposed long ago to propel space craft by exploding a-bombs behind them. You'd need a really good shield to protect space travelers from their engine of mass destruction, but in principle the bombs could drive the ship to substantial speeds.

That wasn't Mote.  That was Footfall, when they build an Orion.


To be fair, that was also Mote.  All of the asteroids (the Stone Beehive scenes) were moved into their current orbits, and they each had the crater from a series of explosions.
 
2013-04-05 05:49:03 PM  
Scotty survived all his away missions. Therefore, his shirt was not red.

It was probably yellow. It only looked red thanks to Future Space Technology.
 
2013-04-05 05:50:26 PM  
Using the type of Fusion we now "control" would be like getting a bag of popcorn to pop each kernel in a specific sequence.

Really the best way to use this concept would be to somehow slow down the reaction without dampening it.

A really slow Hydrogen bomb would make an awesome rocket propellant!
 
2013-04-05 05:56:21 PM  

fusillade762: GAT_00: brantgoose: Readers of SF writers Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle are reminded (in The Mote in God's Eye, etc.) that it was even proposed long ago to propel space craft by exploding a-bombs behind them. You'd need a really good shield to protect space travelers from their engine of mass destruction, but in principle the bombs could drive the ship to substantial speeds.

That wasn't Mote.  That was Footfall, when they build an Orion.

But yes, the Orion project was an old idea.  But it's also a fission, not fusion, engine.  They were talking about manned missions to Saturn in the 1960s with that program.

This ship used one of those:

[i45.tinypic.com image 850x478]

See it get fired up at about 3:10. Really wish I could find the actual clip because they used one of my favorite Chemical Brothers tunes.

Was kinda bummed that series didn't get picked up.


Are you sure that's Chemical Brothers? Sounds too low key and ambient to me. I'm pretty sure I have that track on an old Thievery Corporation compilation.
 
2013-04-05 05:56:37 PM  

Heraclitus: Using the type of Fusion we now "control" would be like getting a bag of popcorn to pop each kernel in a specific sequence.

Really the best way to use this concept would be to somehow slow down the reaction without dampening it.

A really slow Hydrogen bomb would make an awesome rocket propellant!


Certainly constant acceleration would be much more pleasant for the occupants than an impulse/coast cycle every farking minute.
 
2013-04-05 05:58:37 PM  
Where is the N-Cell in Ford Fusion?
 
2013-04-05 05:59:50 PM  

Tax Boy: Scotty survived all his away missions. Therefore, his shirt was not red.

It was probably yellow. It only looked red thanks to Future Space Technology.


trekmovie.com

How many away missions did he even go on? Usually they left him in charge of the ship when Kirk and Spock went.

Oh, and Uhura survived them all, too.
 
2013-04-05 06:02:22 PM  

GAT_00: ShawnDoc: This is coming from a state that legalized weed this past fall.  Who wants to bet this is just the product of a scientist stoned for the first time?

Hydrogen fusion is doable.  There's a fusion plant being built in France.  And fusion is the only realistic way to ever explore the solar system with manned flight.


Yeah, because when it blows up the planet, we will all be floating in space.

//Kidding

I actually really wonder if humans will ever develop any kind of technology that will get a human as far as Jupiter in our lifetime.  Probably not.  But being a science fiction nerd, and knowing that according to the movies, we should have been doing that readily for over 12 years by now, I really would love to see that happen.
 
2013-04-05 06:02:30 PM  

Master Sphincter: My boss uses these phrases in our meetings


and yet she is your boss, paid more than you, gets more power than you
I bet that grinds yer gears

// ya get what you deserve
 
2013-04-05 06:03:50 PM  

brantgoose: yadda yadda GO ORION! yadda yadda yadda ...


The Orion is an amazing idea and could eventually be used for interstellar flight.  The big catch is that unless you go out to Lunar orbit (and maybe beyond) the magnetosphere drags any radioactive emissions back to Earth.  Much nastier than they originally thought.  That's an awfully big bird to go constructing out in Lunar (or Lagrange) orbit.  Maybe after dragging enough asteroids over to use as shielding or other raw ingredients.

I couldn't begin to understand why the article thought the "new fusion" design could possibly work.
 
2013-04-05 06:09:13 PM  

Danger Avoid Death: GAT_00: Hydrogen fusion is doable. There's a fusion plant being built in France.

And, everyone knows, the French never give up.


They sure didn't when they were busy warring with the English by proxy and helped the Americans win their independence in the process.
 
2013-04-05 06:12:04 PM  

yet_another_wumpus: The Orion is an amazing idea and could eventually be used for interstellar flight.


s23.postimg.org
To the cemetery gates.
 
2013-04-05 06:13:02 PM  

durbnpoisn: I actually really wonder if humans will ever develop any kind of technology that will get a human as far as Jupiter in our lifetime.


htmlgiant.com

"I'm sorry, Dave. I can't do that."
 
2013-04-05 06:14:11 PM  

lostcat: See it get fired up at about 3:10. Really wish I could find the actual clip because they used one of my favorite Chemical Brothers tunes.

Was kinda bummed that series didn't get picked up.

Are you sure that's Chemical Brothers? Sounds too low key and ambient to me. I'm pretty sure I have that track on an old Thievery Corporation compilation.


I know it's not Chemical Brothers. The original scene from the show had the CB tune "Alive Alone". But since I couldn't find that one (even though I know it had been on YouTube at one point) I linked to a fan made video. No idea who the music in that one is by.
 
2013-04-05 06:14:17 PM  

prjindigo: you can fuse more than just hydrogen


I fused my cha cha in a whoo whoo dilly once, .... once!
 
2013-04-05 06:17:06 PM  

yet_another_wumpus: brantgoose: yadda yadda GO ORION! yadda yadda yadda ...

The Orion is an amazing idea and could eventually be used for interstellar flight.  The big catch is that unless you go out to Lunar orbit (and maybe beyond) the magnetosphere drags any radioactive emissions back to Earth.  Much nastier than they originally thought.  That's an awfully big bird to go constructing out in Lunar (or Lagrange) orbit.  Maybe after dragging enough asteroids over to use as shielding or other raw ingredients.

I couldn't begin to understand why the article thought the "new fusion" design could possibly work.


As with all fusion designs, it's a matter of scale.  You can build a fusion reactor on your tabletop, but it won't do anything useful.

Orion seems pretty crude to me.  It seems fairly inefficient as only a portion of the blast is going to push the vehicle, the rest goes into open space.  There's also some practical issues with maneuvering... better hope you don't need to slow down before you get to where you're going.
 
2013-04-05 06:18:03 PM  
The cat's eaten the dilithium crystals...
 
2013-04-05 06:31:27 PM  

TheDirtyNacho: yet_another_wumpus: brantgoose: yadda yadda GO ORION! yadda yadda yadda ...

The Orion is an amazing idea and could eventually be used for interstellar flight.  The big catch is that unless you go out to Lunar orbit (and maybe beyond) the magnetosphere drags any radioactive emissions back to Earth.  Much nastier than they originally thought.  That's an awfully big bird to go constructing out in Lunar (or Lagrange) orbit.  Maybe after dragging enough asteroids over to use as shielding or other raw ingredients.

I couldn't begin to understand why the article thought the "new fusion" design could possibly work.

As with all fusion designs, it's a matter of scale.  You can build a fusion reactor on your tabletop, but it won't do anything useful.

Orion seems pretty crude to me.  It seems fairly inefficient as only a portion of the blast is going to push the vehicle, the rest goes into open space.  There's also some practical issues with maneuvering... better hope you don't need to slow down before you get to where you're going.


Efficiency isn't a problem with sufficient energy density.

Slowing down can utilize reverse gravitational assists or just repeating the acceleration in the other direction.
 
2013-04-05 06:34:59 PM  

kim jong-un: TheDirtyNacho: yet_another_wumpus: brantgoose: yadda yadda GO ORION! yadda yadda yadda ...

The Orion is an amazing idea and could eventually be used for interstellar flight.  The big catch is that unless you go out to Lunar orbit (and maybe beyond) the magnetosphere drags any radioactive emissions back to Earth.  Much nastier than they originally thought.  That's an awfully big bird to go constructing out in Lunar (or Lagrange) orbit.  Maybe after dragging enough asteroids over to use as shielding or other raw ingredients.

I couldn't begin to understand why the article thought the "new fusion" design could possibly work.

As with all fusion designs, it's a matter of scale.  You can build a fusion reactor on your tabletop, but it won't do anything useful.

Orion seems pretty crude to me.  It seems fairly inefficient as only a portion of the blast is going to push the vehicle, the rest goes into open space.  There's also some practical issues with maneuvering... better hope you don't need to slow down before you get to where you're going.

Efficiency isn't a problem with sufficient energy density.

Slowing down can utilize reverse gravitational assists or just repeating the acceleration in the other direction.


No joke. Efficiency is overrated in new approaches to propulsion. Whether it's cars or rockets, the first complaint anyone lodges is about efficiency. History has shown that efficiency comes over time and with experience. What we should be looking at is performance and in the case of cars, cleanliness.
 
2013-04-05 06:55:06 PM  
Anyone following the developments in LENR? I keep expecting NASA to announce a LENR Fusion based propulsion rocket.
 
2013-04-05 06:56:49 PM  

DeadGeek: kim jong-un: TheDirtyNacho: yet_another_wumpus: brantgoose: yadda yadda GO ORION! yadda yadda yadda ...

The Orion is an amazing idea and could eventually be used for interstellar flight.  The big catch is that unless you go out to Lunar orbit (and maybe beyond) the magnetosphere drags any radioactive emissions back to Earth.  Much nastier than they originally thought.  That's an awfully big bird to go constructing out in Lunar (or Lagrange) orbit.  Maybe after dragging enough asteroids over to use as shielding or other raw ingredients.

I couldn't begin to understand why the article thought the "new fusion" design could possibly work.

As with all fusion designs, it's a matter of scale.  You can build a fusion reactor on your tabletop, but it won't do anything useful.

Orion seems pretty crude to me.  It seems fairly inefficient as only a portion of the blast is going to push the vehicle, the rest goes into open space.  There's also some practical issues with maneuvering... better hope you don't need to slow down before you get to where you're going.

Efficiency isn't a problem with sufficient energy density.

Slowing down can utilize reverse gravitational assists or just repeating the acceleration in the other direction.

No joke. Efficiency is overrated in new approaches to propulsion. Whether it's cars or rockets, the first complaint anyone lodges is about efficiency. History has shown that efficiency comes over time and with experience. What we should be looking at is performance and in the case of cars, cleanliness.


Fun fact: only about one percent of the gas you burn in your car is used to move the human being driving it. About 10 percent moves the car itself, the rest is just wasted.
 
2013-04-05 07:08:23 PM  

fusillade762: Tax Boy: Scotty survived all his away missions. Therefore, his shirt was not red.

It was probably yellow. It only looked red thanks to Future Space Technology.

[trekmovie.com image 654x486]

How many away missions did he even go on? Usually they left him in charge of the ship when Kirk and Spock went.

Oh, and Uhura survived them all, too.


saguisag.com

Uhura's uniform as it appeared without Red Cloak Technology
 
2013-04-05 07:10:06 PM  
So we get to Mars in 30 days. Will we still survive in space with all the radiation?
 
2013-04-05 07:11:02 PM  
I've gotten my hopes up too many times.

Somebody tell me after they've demonstrated this process in an independent lab run by independent researchers.
 
2013-04-05 07:34:08 PM  

Deep Contact: So we get to Mars in 30 days. Will we still survive in space with all the radiation?


Nope, meatbags turn into hot pockets. Mars will be a one way trip.  A flag, some photo ops....maybe send some rocks back on a small sat.  That's about it.
 
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