- The Chicago Astronomer -
Copyright 2004-2014 All rights reserved by Joseph Guzman Administrator/Founder/Chief Astronomer.
All text and images are the property of the original authors/artists and shall
not be used without permission.
Post by Chicago Astronomer Joe on Jan 31, 2006 0:47:40 GMT -6
Could NASA Get To Pluto Faster? Space Expert Says Yes - By Thinking Nuclear
Washington DC (SPX) Jan 30, 2006 As NASA's New Horizons spacecraft winds its way on a nine-year journey toward Pluto and the outer solar system, at least one expert wonders why such missions need to take so long.
Paul A. Czysz, a 30-year veteran of the industry, continuing consultant to the U.S. military and professor emeritus of aerospace engineering at St. Louis University, thinks NASA can curb the travel time to the outer planets from nearly a decade to a matter of weeks - something he considers critical for the human exploration of the solar system. What's required, he said, is a renewed commitment to nuclear propulsion.
. Nuclear works best when it's in a vacuum. Then you can get the maximum thrust, and the exhaust from nuclear will always have something in it that you don't want to get into the atmosphere. But you also have to work on reducing costs - achieved, say, by not having to throw the rocket away each time, or if you establish an infrastructure in space.