[ExI] To Boldly Go Nowhere, for Now

BillK pharos at gmail.com
Fri Sep 20 13:57:10 UTC 2013

On Fri, Sep 20, 2013 at 2:34 PM, Eugen Leitl wrote:
> Sounds great, except it ain't true. Photovoltaics works well beyond
> Mars orbit, and for everything else there's plain good nuclear
> reactors. Critical mass of U-235 or Pu-239 is very small, and
> they have way higher power densities than puny RTGs.
> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/TOPAZ_nuclear_reactor
> For larger installations, you can use MSRs. Notice that
> you need redox/hydrothermal geology for fissible ore formation,
> so chances are good you won't find
> suitable ores outside of Earth. We shouldn't waste these
> resources. We might need them very badly in future.

NASA have researched alternatives to Pu-238 and rejected them.

I understand there is much opposition to launching nuclear reactors,
;)  and scientists have worried about radiation damage to instruments.
(Heavy shielding not allowed in rocket launches).

And I don't think TOPAZ actually exists nowadays.


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