Together, they have sent manned missions to the Moon, explored

Exploring the Universe with Nuclear Power

In the past four decades, NASA and other space agencies from around the world have accomplished some amazing feats. Together, they have sent manned missions to the Moon, explored Mars, mapped Venus and canada goose factory outlet Mercury, conducted surveys and captured breathtaking images of the Outer Solar System. However, looking ahead to the next generation of exploration and the canada goose outlet shop more distant frontiers canada goose outlet store uk that remain to be explored, it is clear that new ideas need to be put forward of how to quickly and canada goose outlet nyc efficiently reach canada goose outlet uk sale those destinations.

Basically, this means finding ways to power rockets that are more fuel and cost effective while still providing the necessary power to get crews, rovers and orbiters to their far flung destinations. In this respect, NASA has been taking a canada goose outlet toronto factory good look at nuclear fission as a possible means of propulsion.

canada goose black friday sale In fact, according to presentation made by Doctor Michael G. Houts of the NASA Marshall Space Flight Center back in October of 2014, nuclear power and propulsion have the potential to be „game changing technologies for space exploration.“ canada goose black friday sale

uk canada goose As the Marshall Space Flight Center’s manager of nuclear thermal research, Dr. Houts is well versed in the benefits it has to offer space exploration. According to the presentation he and fellow staffers made, a fission reactor can be used in a rocket design to create Nuclear Thermal Propulsion (NTP). In an NTP rocket, uranium or deuterium reactions are used to heat liquid hydrogen inside a reactor, turning it into ionized hydrogen gas (plasma), which is then canada goose outlet new york city channeled through a rocket nozzle to generate thrust. uk canada goose

NASA design for a Nuclear Engine for Rocket Vehicle Application (NERVA). Image Credit: NASAA second possible method, known as Nuclear Electric Propulsion (NEC), involves the same basic reactor converted its heat and energy into electrical energy canada goose jacket outlet which then powers an electrical engine. In both cases, the rocket relies on nuclear fission to generates propulsion rather than chemical propellants, which has been the mainstay of NASA and all other space agencies to date.

Compared to this traditional form of propulsion, both NTP and NEC offers a number of advantages. The first and most obvious is the virtually unlimited energy density it offers compared canada goose outlet parka to rocket fuel. At a steady state, a fission reactor produces an canada goose outlet average of 2.5 neutrons per reaction. However, it would only take a single neutron to cause a subsequent fission and produce a chain reaction and provide constant power.

In fact, according to the report, an NTP rocket could generate 200 kWt of power using a single kilogram of uranium for a period of 13 years which works out of to a fuel efficiency rating of about 45 grams per 1000 MW hr.

In addition, a nuclear powered engine could also provide superior thrust relative to the amount of propellant used. This would cut the total amount of propellent needed, thus cutting launch weight and the cost of individual missions. And a more powerful nuclear engine would mean reduced trip times, another cost cutting measure.

canada goose uk black friday The canada goose outlet reviews key elements of a NERVA solid core nuclear thermal engine. Credit: NASAAlthough no nuclear thermal engines have canada goose outlet store ever flown, several design concepts have been built and tested over the canada goose outlet sale past few decades, and numerous concepts have been proposed. These have ranged from the traditional solid core design to more advanced and efficient concepts that rely on either a liquid or a gas core. canada goose uk black friday

In the case of a solid core design, the only type that has ever been built, a reactor made from materials with a very high melting point houses a collection of solid canada goose outlet in usa uranium rods which undergo controlled fission. The hydrogen fuel is contained in a separate tank and then passes through tubes around the reactor, gaining heat and converted into plasma before being channeled through the nozzles to achieve thrust. the Space Shuttle’s main engine.

Canada Goose Parka However, a significant drawback arises from the fact that nuclear reactions in a solid core model can create much higher temperatures than the conventional materials can withstand. The cracking of fuel coatings can also result from large temperature variations along the length of the rods, which taken together, sacrifices much of the engine’s potential for performance. Canada Goose Parka

cheap canada goose uk Diagram of an open cycle, gas design for a nuclear thermal rocket engine. Credit: NASAMany of these problems were addressed with the liquid core design, where nuclear fuel is mixed into the liquid hydrogen and allowing the fission reaction to take place in the liquid mixture itself. This design can operate at temperatures above the melting point of the nuclear fuel thanks to the fact that the container wall is actively cooled by the liquid hydrogen. cheap canada goose uk

buy canada goose jacket cheap However, compared to the solid core design, engines of this type are much more complicated, and therefore more expensive and difficult to build. Part of the problem has to do with the time it takes to achieve a fission reaction, which is significantly longer than the time it takes to heat the hydrogen fuel. Therefore, engines of this kind require methods to both trap the fuel inside the engine while simultaneously allowing heated plasma the ability to exit through the nozzle. buy canada goose jacket cheap

canadian goose jacket The final goose outlet canada classification is the gas core engine, a modification of the liquid core design that uses rapid circulation to create a ring shaped pocket of gaseous uranium fuel in the middle official canada goose outlet of the reactor that is surrounded by liquid hydrogen. In this case, the hydrogen fuel does not touch the reactor wall, so temperatures can be kept below the melting point of the materials used. But in an „open cycle“ design of this kind, the losses of nuclear fuel would be difficult to control. An attempt to remedy this was drafted with the „closed cycle design“ aka. the „nuclear lightbulb“ engine where the gaseous nuclear fuel is contained in a series of super high temperature quarts containers. canadian goose jacket

The closed concept (aka. Lightbulb) gas core nuclear thermal rocket engine. Credit: NASAAlthough this design is less efficient than the open cycle design, and has canada goose outlet black friday a more in common with the solid core concept, the limiting factor here is the critical temperature of quartz and not that of the fuel stack.

canada goose clearance However, as Houts indicated, one of the greatest assets nuclear fission has going for it is the long history of service it has enjoyed here on Earth. In addition to commercial reactors providing electricity all over the world, naval vessels (such as aircraft carriers and submarines) have made good use of slow fission reactors for decades. canada goose clearance

canada goose Also, NASA has been relying on nuclear reactors to power unmanned craft and rover for over four decades, mainly in the form of Radioisotope Thermoelectric Generators (RTGs) and Radioisotope Heater Units (RHU). In the case of the former, heat is generated by the slow decay of plutonium 238 (Pu 238), which is then converted into electricity. In the case of the latter, the heat itself is used to keep components and ship’s systems warm and running. canada goose

Canada Goose Online These types of generators have been used to power and maintain everything from the Apollo rockets to the Curiosity Rover, as well as countless satellites, orbiters and robots in between. Since its inception,a total of 44 missions have been launched by NASA that have used either RTGs or RHUs, while the former Soviet space program launched a comparatively solid 33. Canada Goose Online

canada goose coats on sale Using modular components, a NTP spacecraft could be fitted for numerous missions profiles. Credit: NASANuclear engines were also considered for a time as canada goose outlet jackets a replacement for the J 2, a liquid fuel cryogenic rocket engine used on the S II and S IVB stages on the Saturn V and Saturn I rockets. But despite their being numerous versions of a solid core reactors produced and tested in the past, none were ever put into canada goose outlet canada service for an actual space flight. canada goose coats on sale

Between 1959 and 1972, the United States tested twenty different sizes and designs during Project Rover and NASA’s Nuclear Engine for Rocket Vehicle Application (NERVA) program. The most powerful engine ever tested was the Phoebus 2a, which during a high power test operated for a total of 32 minutes 12 minutes of which were at power levels of more than canada goose outlet online 4.0 million kilowatts.

Canada Goose sale But looking to the future, Houts‘ and the Marshall Space Flight Center see great potential and many possible applications. Examples cited in the report include long range satellites that could explore the Outer Solar System and Kuiper Belt, fast, efficient transportation for manned missions throughout the Solar System, canada goose outlet online uk and even the provisions of power for settlements on the Moon and Mars someday. Canada Goose sale

canada goose coats One possibility is to equip NASA’s latest flagship the Space Launch System (SLS) with chemically powered lower stage engines and a nuclear thermal engine on its upper stage. The nuclear engine would remain „cold“ until the rocket had achieved orbit, at which point the upper stage would be deployed and reactor would be activated to generate thrust. canada goose coats

buy canada goose jacket NASA proposals for nuclear powered exploration rovers and craft. canada goose black friday sale Credit: NASAThis concept for a „bimodal“ rocket one which relies on chemical propellants to achieve orbit and a nuclear thermal engine for propulsion in space could become the mainstay of NASA and other space agencies in the coming years. According to Houts and others at Marshall, the dramatic increase in efficiency offered by such rockets could also facilitate NASA’s plans to explore Mars by allowing for the reliable delivery of high mass automated payloads in advance of manned missions. buy canada goose jacket

canada goose clearance sale These same rockets could then be retooled for speed (instead of mass) and used to transport the astronauts themselves to Mars in roughly half the time it would take for a conventional rocket to make the trip. This would not only save on time and cut mission costs, it would also ensure that the astronauts were exposed to less harmful solar radiation during the course of their flight. canada goose clearance sale

To see this vision become reality, Dr. Houts and other researchers from the Marshall Space Center’s Propulsion Research and Development Laboratory are currently conducting NTP related tests at the Nuclear Thermal Rocket Element Environmental Simulator (or „NTREES“) in Huntsville, Alabama.

Canada Goose Outlet Here, they have spent the past few canada goose outlet years analyzing the properties of various nuclear fuels in a simulated thermal environment, hoping to learn more about how they might effect engine performance and longevity when it comes to a nuclear thermal rocket engine Canada Goose Outlet.