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Pulsed Nuclear Fusion Propulsion

pulsed nuclear fusion future propulsion

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#1    Waspie_Dwarf

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Posted 27 June 2012 - 11:27 PM

Scientists developing pulsed nuclear fusion system for distant missions


phys.org said:

The ticket to Mars and beyond may be a series of nuclear slapshots that use magnetic pulses to slam nuclei into each other inside hockey pucks made of a special, lightweight salt.

A physics team from The University of Alabama in Huntsville's Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering soon will take delivery of a specialized system to see if they can "Z-pinch" a tiny bit of that salt into the heart of a star.

“We are trying to develop a small, lightweight pulsed nuclear fusion system for deep space missions,” explained Dr. Jason Cassibry, an associate professor of engineering at UAHuntsville. “If this works we could reach Mars in six to eight weeks instead of six to eight months.”

In hockey, a slapshot digs the head of the hockey stick into the ice to bend the shaft, like an archer’s bow, storing energy for a sharper snap against the puck and drive it down the ice rink. Cassibry and his team will attempt to drive a hollowed-out puck in on itself, fusing lithium and hydrogen atoms and turning a little of their mass into pure energy.

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#2    Doctor manhattan

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Posted 28 June 2012 - 09:53 AM

warp speed engage!!!


#3    skookum

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Posted 28 June 2012 - 10:58 AM

Sounds like project Orion all over again.


#4    marcos anthony toledo

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Posted 28 June 2012 - 11:32 AM

More like 2001 propulsion system the movie.


#5    Waspie_Dwarf

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Posted 28 June 2012 - 12:11 PM

View Postskookum, on 28 June 2012 - 10:58 AM, said:

Sounds like project Orion all over again.

Orion would have used fission not fusion. In using small nuclear bombs it would also have produced a much greater acceleration, albeit over a shorter period of time. Orion would have required massive shock absorbers between the pusher plate and the crew compartment to protect the crew from the massive jolt produced by each detonation.

This form of nuclear propulsion is more akin to ion drive in that it produces small, gentle acceleration over long periods of time.

Edited by Waspie_Dwarf, 28 June 2012 - 03:22 PM.

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#6    Junior Chubb

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Posted 28 June 2012 - 02:17 PM

Could we see the 'Kessel Run record' smashed at last?


#7    ThickasaBrick

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Posted 28 June 2012 - 03:27 PM

The current system of propulsion is as out of date as horses.


#8    Waspie_Dwarf

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Posted 28 June 2012 - 04:02 PM

View Postjgorman628, on 28 June 2012 - 03:27 PM, said:

The current system of propulsion is as out of date as horses.

In what way? It still works. There are many different proposals on the table for replacing rocket propulsion but, with the exception of ion propulsion, they all have one thing in common, they haven't been shown to work yet (and many of these proposed systems such as ion propulsion and the fusion propulsion described in the original article will still rely on rockets to haul them into orbit).

A system only becomes out-dated when there is something better to replace it. Horses were made out-dated by the internal combustion engine. A century on and the internal combustion engine still reigns supreme. For this reason rockets are no more out-dated than the internal combustion engine is.

"Space is big. Really big. You just won't believe how vastly, hugely, mind-boggingly big it is. I mean, you may think it's a long way down the street to the chemist, but that's just peanuts to space." - The Hitch-Hikers Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams 1952 - 2001

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#9    Doctor manhattan

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Posted 28 June 2012 - 05:46 PM

View PostWaspie_Dwarf, on 28 June 2012 - 04:02 PM, said:

A system only becomes out-dated when there is something better to replace it.
dont you mean obsolete.


#10    Waspie_Dwarf

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Posted 28 June 2012 - 06:04 PM

View Postserial slasher, on 28 June 2012 - 05:46 PM, said:

dont you mean obsolete.
I know exactly what I mean, thank you.

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outdated [ˌaʊtˈdeɪtɪd] [i]adj[/] old-fashioned or obsolete

Source: The Free Dictionary

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#11    Junior Chubb

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Posted 28 June 2012 - 07:10 PM

While the combustion engine is being mentioned, anyone any idea how much horse-power Pulsed Nuclear Fusion Propulsion would produce?

I've flown from one side of this galaxy to the other. I've seen a lot of strange stuff, but I've never seen anything to show me where the hell Helen of Annoy has been for the past couple of months.

#12    Waspie_Dwarf

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Posted 28 June 2012 - 07:24 PM

View PostJunior Chubb, on 28 June 2012 - 07:10 PM, said:

While the combustion engine is being mentioned, anyone any idea how much horse-power Pulsed Nuclear Fusion Propulsion would produce?
Not much in comparison to a chemical rocket, but power isn't really the point. It's the fact that the engine continues to accelerate the vehicle for weeks on end that makes it so effective.

"Space is big. Really big. You just won't believe how vastly, hugely, mind-boggingly big it is. I mean, you may think it's a long way down the street to the chemist, but that's just peanuts to space." - The Hitch-Hikers Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams 1952 - 2001

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#13    Junior Chubb

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Posted 28 June 2012 - 07:29 PM

View PostWaspie_Dwarf, on 28 June 2012 - 07:24 PM, said:

Not much in comparison to a chemical rocket, but power isn't really the point. It's the fact that the engine continues to accelerate the vehicle for weeks on end that makes it so effective.

Thanks for the clarification Waspie :)

What I was really hoping for was 6,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 hp

I've flown from one side of this galaxy to the other. I've seen a lot of strange stuff, but I've never seen anything to show me where the hell Helen of Annoy has been for the past couple of months.

#14    paul the walrus

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Posted 28 June 2012 - 08:27 PM

Sounds risky to me. Do we really want this type of material raining down on us, if or when, an accident occurs during lift off?


#15    Waspie_Dwarf

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Posted 28 June 2012 - 09:25 PM

View Postpaul the walrus, on 28 June 2012 - 08:27 PM, said:

Sounds risky to me. Do we really want this type of material raining down on us, if or when, an accident occurs during lift off?

This is fusion, not fission. Hydrogen is fused together to form helium. There are no radioactive fuels and no radioactive byproducts.

"Space is big. Really big. You just won't believe how vastly, hugely, mind-boggingly big it is. I mean, you may think it's a long way down the street to the chemist, but that's just peanuts to space." - The Hitch-Hikers Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams 1952 - 2001

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