Fuse me to the Moon… (with bombzzz!!1!1)

Tom James @ 02-02-2009

mandelbrot_fusionPhysicist Friedwardt Winterberg has a new paper here on a possible fusion-powered spacecraft, with shades of Project Orion and Project Daedalus:

Large scale manned space flight within the solar system is still confronted with the solution of two problems: 1. A propulsion system to transport large payloads with short transit times between different planetary orbits. 2. A cost effective lifting of large payloads into earth orbit.

For the solution of the first problem a deuterium fusion bomb propulsion system is proposed where a thermonuclear detonation wave is ignited in a small cylindrical assembly of deuterium with a gigavolt-multimegampere proton beam, drawn from the magnetically insulated spacecraft acting in the ultrahigh vacuum of space as a gigavolt capacitor.

For the solution of the second problem, the ignition is done by argon ion lasers driven by high explosives, with the lasers destroyed in the fusion explosion and becoming part of the exhaust.

The key point is that it’s designed without $MAGIC_FAIRY_DUST technology and is intended to be feasible from a purely engineering standpoint.

[via Slashdot][image from SantaRosa OLD SKOOL on flickr]

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2 Responses to “Fuse me to the Moon… (with bombzzz!!1!1)”

  1. Rolf says:

    In my eyes the real feasable technology for cheap transport of goods into
    near orbit is the space elevator. We do have decades of “engeneeringly
    standpoint” trials with fusion energy with a huge amount of money and
    effort spent with nothing to show for. The method described above
    reminds me of the 1950s approach. To make it short, I do not think that this
    thought is really worth it to spend money or scientific effort on. The
    space elevator is a much more plausible and realistic method which does not
    involve controlling a fusion bomb (my god).

  2. meika says:

    fission works though, every working nuclear power station on earth is wasting potential interplanetary colonisation projects, no better bang per cm3 that uranium and we waste it boiling water…. every nuclear power station should be shut down immediately.