Re: But on further regurgitation...

Posted by Bobba on Jun 05, 2002 at 12:21

Re: But on further regurgitation... (Southern Man)

Regarding your stick house/mobile home analogy – I think it falls far short. The issue is whether or not we can design a self-contained zero maintenance reactor of a suitable small size and weight. Clearly we can as it’s already been done. It may not be of the pebble-bed variety but it exists. The Rapid-L was specifically (initially) designed for this very purpose. Whether it alone would suffice in terms of energy requirements seems to be the only issue. But before we get to that I want to return for a second to the shielding issue.

I agree that without the biological shielding a great deal of neutron radiation will escape the core into the surrounding environment. So what? Neutron radiation does not necessarily a contaminated environment make – depending of course on your definition of contaminated. You originally asserted, as hyperbole i think, that it would produce radioactive steam. Realistically, given the nature of neutron radiation and what it [wants to] reacts with, the only external secondary hazardous particles produced in any significant quantity would be low levels of tritium, and given it’s relatively short half-life, I don’t think it would be of any consequence whatsoever. I’d be more than happy to have a cup Martian tea made from the condensed steam. Perhaps you’ll join me? Now on to the cost/energy-effectiveness of this plan over that of bringing all the fuel required along.

I simply don’t know.

The original question regarded where the energy would come from to make the fuel. The best and possible only answer to that is nuclear.

Anyway, feel free to show me your calculations. If they are picked apart, it won’t likely be by me – integral calculations are, as I’ve said, over my head. But this did seem worth picking on...

I believe we should plan on at least 10,000Kg of
people/food/air/water/shielding to lift.

Does that include the weight of the craft as well? I’m not sure we’d need to lift anything other than people and their souvenirs – and the fuel for the return trip home, of course. Presumable, there’d be a “mother ship” with the requisite food, water and shielding already in orbit. So really there are two sets of equations: one for getting the people, rocks and fuel up to the mother ship and one for getting the mother ship back to earth.

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