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Nuclear Rocket Petition On White House Website

samzenpus posted about 2 years ago | from the rad-rocket dept.

NASA 205

RocketAcademy writes "A petition on the White House website is calling for the United States to rapidly develop a nuclear thermal rocket engine. Nuclear rockets are a promising technology, but unless NASA develops a deep-space exploration ship such as Johnson Space Center's Nautilus X, a nuclear rocket would be wasted. Launching nuclear rockets may pose regulatory and political problems as well. Practical applications may depend on mining uranium or thorium on the Moon."

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Why not have a petition for something USEFUL? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42577685)

Like free hookers / pot?

Re:Why not have a petition for something USEFUL? (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42577783)

I hate to burst your bubble, but there is at least one petition regarding free pot and we had free hookers a few decades ago. They were called slaves and they're still available in many parts of the world. If, by some chance, you want hookers paid by the state, then those aren't free, because the state gets its money from... you guessed it: you.

Re:Why not have a petition for something USEFUL? (4, Insightful)

ArcadeMan (2766669) | about 2 years ago | (#42577861)

If hookers paid by the state existed, YOU would get screwed.

Re:Why not have a petition for something USEFUL? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42578045)

If hookers paid by the state existed, YOU would get screwed.

Uhm, that's the general idea.

Re:Why not have a petition for something USEFUL? (2)

3seas (184403) | about 2 years ago | (#42578215)

Caution, political double speak present.

Re:Why not have a petition for something USEFUL? (2)

modecx (130548) | about 2 years ago | (#42578761)

So you are familiar with the nature of politics!

Re:Why not have a petition for something USEFUL? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42577797)

How about something more useful, like addressing climate change. Or, I dunno, maybe having a budget?

Re:Why not have a petition for something USEFUL? (4, Interesting)

guises (2423402) | about 2 years ago | (#42577889)

The budget is congress' responsibility, petitioning the Whitehouse for that wouldn't help. Here you've complained about useless petitions and then followed up with a useless petition suggestion of your own.

I love the petition website as an attempt to get people a little more involved with public policy but (maybe because I read Slashdot too much) so many of the petitions seem to be nonsense like "I want a nuclear powered spaceship to Andromeda." Or "more funding for SETI." Addressing climate change is a better suggestion, but the president has attempted to address climate change in a few ways already. Doing more or something different isn't a bad idea, but you would need to be more specific - a requirement for city planners to implement some manner of public transportation, a plan for reduced dependance on beef, etc.

Re:Why not have a petition for something USEFUL? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42578489)

Wow that joke went over your know nothing know it all head! Why not learn to lighten up a little?

Re:Why not have a petition for something USEFUL? (2, Insightful)

jjjhs (2009156) | about 2 years ago | (#42578143)

Addressing climate change usually means raping everyone in the butt without lube by jacking energy costs now (and therefor everything else) and promising a renewable fuel source that is every bit as good/viable as dino fuel much much later.

Re:Why not have a petition for something USEFUL? (3, Informative)

SomeKDEUser (1243392) | about 2 years ago | (#42578697)

No, it may also mean developing nuclear power more, or imposing efficiency standards on wares. Le's talk about standards.

As a European, one of the stricking thing about America is the absolutely dismal standards in housing construction, household applicances, cars, etc. Sure, things are a bit cheaper, but the TCO of all those things is really bad compared to euro stuff. It seems people only look at the sticker price, and don't think about the costs down the road.

So in fact, in the US there is quite a margin to do something significant, now, and have everyone be richer in the medium term from lower energy bills, less replacing stuff, and who knows? less fat as a side effect from enjoying cooking with appliances that don't suck.

Really? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42578151)

Just what empirical evidence do you have that spending billions of tax dollars on "addressing climate change" would be "useful"? (aside from arguments over whether the change is real and/or whether man is a significant cause and/or is capable of significant mitigation (and the economics of any proposed mitigation))

Oh, and did you really just put "addressing climate change" and "having a budget" into the same sentence? really?

Re: Why not have a petition for something USEFUL? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42578599)

Because nobody will sign it. Duh.

Re:Why not have a petition for something USEFUL? (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42577839)

Like free hookers / pot?

Free hookers are called WIVES.

But in the end, they are pretty expensive.

Re:Why not have a petition for something USEFUL? (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42578367)

Not so.

Hookers put out reliably when you pay them. Wives do not.

Re:Why not have a petition for something USEFUL? (4, Insightful)

Jeremy Erwin (2054) | about 2 years ago | (#42577851)

One step at a time. It's more useful than a Death Star.

Re:Why not have a petition for something USEFUL? (2)

ArcadeMan (2766669) | about 2 years ago | (#42577857)

Don't forget the theme park and the blackjack!

Re:Why not have a petition for something USEFUL? (1)

kelemvor4 (1980226) | about 2 years ago | (#42578665)

Like free hookers / pot?

If hookers were free wouldn't they then fail to meet the definition of hooker? I think they would transform into sluts.

This is why people believe in the need for secrecy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42577687)

Because the masses don't understand technology, its applications, and safe mankind benefiting uses.

I don't blame the Illuminati.

Anyway I would benevolently ram 2-trillion down the throats of mankind in space exploratory science. At the barrel of a gun or laser or sonic weapon at this point. It seems to be what people want out of their governments.

A petition on the White House website? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42577693)

A petition on the White House website can be written by anyone, about anything. Heck, you could even write a petition calling for the United States to develop a Death Star.

Is this going to be the next form of slashvertisement?

The original... (4, Interesting)

CrimsonAvenger (580665) | about 2 years ago | (#42577697)

The NERVA test engine is on display at Johnson Space Center, as I understand it.

Being 40+ years out of date, I imagine they'll have to spend billions to repeat the original work, but I'd hope that the fact that we already built a working nuclear rocket would mean that developing a new one wouldn't be overwhelmingly difficult.

Re:The original... (3, Informative)

Ken_g6 (775014) | about 2 years ago | (#42578043)

The NERVA test engine is on display at Johnson Space Center, as I understand it.

National Geographic confirms your understanding [nationalgeographic.com] .

Re:The original... (4, Insightful)

TubeSteak (669689) | about 2 years ago | (#42578079)

Being 40+ years out of date, I imagine they'll have to spend billions to repeat the original work,

The real cost to ressurect old aerospace technology is in remaking the molds and figuring out the exact composition of the materials used.
If NASA saved any of the old molds/dies or documents, it'll save them a lot of money and effort.

And I'd like to point out that "out of date" is a questionable statement when we're talking about rocket technology.
The R&D has already been done and it's not like the old designs deteriorate with age.
Computers aside, most of what's done today isn't very different from 50 year old rocketry.

If you hire corrupt defense contractors.... (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42578123)

Being 40+ years out of date, I imagine they'll have to spend billions to repeat the original work, but I'd hope that the fact that we already built a working nuclear rocket would mean that developing a new one wouldn't be overwhelmingly difficult.

If you hire big bloated corrupt incompetent defense contractors it is guaranteed to take longer than the original and costs BILLIONS more:

  1. [a] The Apollo capsule, recreated as Orion/MPCV is an example. Yeah, I know Orion is bigger, but the shape is the same (because that was supposed to save time and money by allowing them to re-use the original test and flight data). Some uniformed idiot (or drone working for one of the contractors) will point out that Orion seats 4 while Apollo seated 3 but there are some facts to consider: As part of Constellation, Orion was supposed to carry a crew of 6, which 40 years of progress should have enabled (Remember: the massive power-hungry avionics can now run on a small battery and be the size of an Android Tablet) but apparently today's Lockheed is less capable than NorthAmerican was 40 years ago. One Apollo capsule rolled-out to the pad with seats for 5 (and blueprints of NorthAmerican's Apollo show it was capable of fitting 6 ) ... google "Skylab Rescue Mission" and you'll probable stumble onto the details ..... the 5-seat rescue mission was not needed so it did not launch in that config but it was capable and the configuration was real.
  2. [b] The Saturn-IB, recreated as Ares-I is another example. Sure, replacing the 1st stage of 8 liquid engines with an nearly existing current tech shuttle SRB was a chore ..... but Von Braun's team studied the same basic idea in the 60's as an upgrade path of the smaller crew-launch Saturn (so the idea was not exotic and unstudied). Forty years of progress should have made this a no-brainer. The oft-cited excuse for cancellation: thrust oscillation was hardly an unexpected or misunderstood thing and turned-out to be less severe than critics predicted. The upper-stage of Ares-I was essentially a Saturn S-IVB (LOX/LH2, common-bulkhead single-engine design) using an updated version of the Apollo J-2 engine (designated J-2X). Boeing apparently was incapable of re-creating what NorthAmerican could do 40 years ago with the basic stage structure. Did we even get a boilerplate version of the stage for our tax dollars?
  3. [c] After billions of dollars and years of work the new J-2X engine (derived from the Apollo J-2) is still in development. In the Apollo era, by this point in the program the J-2 design was already flying .... and it was not derived from any previous engine

Remember that all the above was in response to the destruction of Orbiter Columbia during reentry ten years ago. Oh, for Constellation haters: the Ares-I 1st stage now exists (ATK has test fired several of them and has essentially finished it .... they are just optimizing and characterizing now) and it will fly as part of the SLS system...... now if we just had an Orion and an upperstage with a J-2 derived engine......

The nuclear engine is a great thing..... we developed it in the sixties and even ran them at a test site in the desert..... but if you hire some big aerospace corporation that has been sucking on the government teet for decades and is used to delivering defective garbage to the taxpayer, demanding more for that garbage than was originally bid, and being rewarded by being offered new projects ..... well you're just gonna spend billions and either get nothing or get junk. (the normal pattern is that you spend billions and years and then eventually cancel the program so the taxpayers get nothing for the money but a few desktop display models...... google X-20, X-33, X-38, OTV, NASP, A-12 ....)

Re:The original... (1)

DerekLyons (302214) | about 2 years ago | (#42578777)

The NERVA test engine is on display at Johnson Space Center, as I understand it.

So? That's about as relevant as having a LEGO Millennium Falcon on display at Johnson Space Center. NERVA isn't a flight ready engine, it isn't even close to being a flight ready engine. It's a technology demonstrator.
 
But the real problem is, nuclear thermal propulsion is a solution in search of a problem - a billion dollar engine doesn't make any sense without a multi--tens-of-billions of dollars spacecraft sitting on top of it. And we aren't going to build any of those in the near future.

Re:The original... (3, Interesting)

Nefarious Wheel (628136) | about 2 years ago | (#42578863)

“This is not a model,” NASA physicist Les Johnson says as we gaze at the 35-foot-tall assemblage of pipes, nozzles, and shielding. “This is an honest-to-goodness nuclear rocket engine.”
    -- From Nat.Geographic (link above)

Re:The original... (0)

DerekLyons (302214) | about 2 years ago | (#42579181)

Had I said it was a model, you'd have point. Had I said it wasn't a nuclear rocket engine, you'd have a point.

You fail, badly, at reading comprehension.

Re:The original... (1)

kellymcdonald78 (2654789) | about 2 years ago | (#42578983)

The XE' engine tested in 1968-1969 was pretty much a flight ready engine (the turbo pumps, reactor, valves, nozzle were all flight designs). Now they still would have needed to integrate it into a rocket stage (The LH2 tank, skirts and control systems) but had the funding been available (300-400 million plus a Saturn V), it could have flown as early as 72-73. The real frustrating aspect is that the technology was developing so rapidly that there were already several significant improvements that would have been available relatively quickly (Carbide coatings and the "Afterburner" concept) if research continued. NERVA exceeded every design goal by a large margin, much faster than most had thought possible when ROVER was kicked off in 1959.

Re:The original... (1)

DerekLyons (302214) | about 2 years ago | (#42579147)

The XE' engine tested in 1968-1969 was pretty much a flight ready engine

In other words - it wasn't a flight ready engine and had never been tested in a flight ready configuration.
 

The real frustrating aspect is that...

... people keep treating something that wasn't flight ready as if it was - and keep acting as though it would have been flight ready on schedule and on budget in precisely the way virtually no other program ever was.

I know it's democracy and will of the people, but (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42577705)

In this case I believe the judgement of professionals at NASA is worth more than of some random petition signers. Give NASA a bigger budget and let them decide how to spend it.

Re:I know it's democracy and will of the people, b (1)

SteveFoerster (136027) | about 2 years ago | (#42577781)

Maybe it's entrepreneurs you should be consulting. From the article: "One of the more interesting concepts from this period did not come from NASA but from a model company called MPC."

Re:I know it's democracy and will of the people, b (1, Flamebait)

Montezumaa (1674080) | about 2 years ago | (#42577935)

No, the United States of America is a democratic republic(started as a republic, but the 17th Amendment, including how states, which are sovereign entities and thus equal to the national government, hold referendums and such). We elect representatives, who hold authority to make governmental decisions on out behalf. It is a generally held, but false belief that the US is a democracy; democracies are a farce, at best(read Federalist number 10).

Authority and power are derived from the citizens of the US, but we allow our representatives make decisions that aren't strictly forbidden in the US Constitution, and to a lesser extent, federal/state laws(the US Constitution is the ultimate legal document in the entire US system of governments).

Re:I know it's democracy and will of the people, b (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42578627)

republic(started

best(read

laws(the

If you're going to have so many brackets (3 out of 4 sentences have them in your post), then you should think about adding a space before the "(".

I remember (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42577715)

I remember how well the deathstar petition worked: the white house, in the paper today, said that they would not work on it.

stahp (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42577723)

can we stop with the white house petition spam? the petitions generally get more and more silly and the few that are reasonable never get more than a nice token response from the white house

Re:stahp (5, Insightful)

EmagGeek (574360) | about 2 years ago | (#42578009)

This.

Seriously, anyone who thinks the white house actually considers any of these petitions is incredibly naive and impressionable, which is, of course, the whole point - making a bunch of naive, impressionable voters believe the administration actually gives a fuck what they think.

Good and Bad (3, Informative)

balsy2001 (941953) | about 2 years ago | (#42577759)

Nuclear rockets have a much higher specific impulse than chemical rockets, which is what makes them attractive for space exploration (this is not the only thing to consider though). However launching them from earth would poses some risks. A failure on launch could result in releasing radioactive fission products over large areas. The US and USSR did a good bit of research on these decades ago. Some interesting info http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nuclear_thermal_rocket [wikipedia.org] .

Re:Good and Bad (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42577805)

Surely they would be launched from the dark side of the moon...

Re:Good and Bad (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42577815)

Both the US and the USSR have launched nuclear reactors into space (not just those radioisotope decay generators, real reactors). Some of them are still up there in graveyard orbits. Launching a nuclear rocket in a cold shutdown and only bringing it into full active state when safely above the atmosphere wouldn't be much different.

Re:Good and Bad (0)

RocketAcademy (2708739) | about 2 years ago | (#42577891)

A failure on launch could result in releasing radioactive fission products over large areas.

That's why it's unlikely until we start to mine uranium on the Moon. (Not so much the chances of an accident but the perception.) I had a discussion about that with engineers at JSC, and everyone in the room agreed with that statement. Fortunately, finding uranium on the Moon is not out of the question. We know it's there.

Re:Good and Bad (3, Insightful)

Charliemopps (1157495) | about 2 years ago | (#42578039)

Do you think for a second that the people that oppose nuclear power on earth aren't going to care about the moon? Keep in mind, these people don't really care about nuclear power, what they actually oppose is progress. I've met plenty of them, they want to live in straw bail houses, eat organic food, don't get their kids vaccinated etc... They're like a newage Amish. Rational arguments will not sway them. If they're willing to let people starve rather than eat GM food and their own children contract deadly disease eradicated decades ago simply to appease their own irrational fears there's no argument that you can make that will persuade them. As soon as the word "Nuclear" leaves your lips they'll oppose you.

Re:Good and Bad (1)

UK Boz (755972) | about 2 years ago | (#42578087)

..they want to live in straw bail houses, eat organic food, don't get their kids vaccinated etc...

.. And have iPhones

Re:Good and Bad (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42578549)

yeah, that's a real unbiased POV. I'm posting on /., so I must be right! Surely there's nothing wrong with nuclear power and GM food! And if I hear anything bad about it, I'll just assume it's hippies being complete idiots because only me, a stupid ./ geek, knows what the f* is going on.

Re:Good and Bad (1)

xtal (49134) | about 2 years ago | (#42578717)

I wish they'd spend more time protesting nuclear weapons. You know, the ones aimed at them.

Re:Good and Bad (2)

14erCleaner (745600) | about 2 years ago | (#42578723)

How do they feel about the nuclear family [wikipedia.org] ? Do they split up as soon as their first kid is born?

Re:Good and Bad (1)

PrimaryConsult (1546585) | about 2 years ago | (#42578805)

There will always be extremists, but what is worse is those who sympathize with them - they are the ones who rally behind the cause without knowing any facts and make progress politically unpopular. Such people should be made to watch the Star Trek DS9 episode Paradise [wikipedia.org] (the WP description doesn't do it justice, watch it on Amazon Prime if you can)... While the "leader" in that story is not anti-progress for religious reasons or out of any irrational fear (the two common causes for the mindset), I think divorcing the philosophy from those reasons actually makes the story more effective. It is a nice splash of cold water for anyone who expresses "anti-progress" attitudes as it focuses on the consequences of a "100% back to nature" attitude.

Why the moon? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42578063)

If the first sentence of this article [tucsoncitizen.com] is accurate, Mars should be a primary target for off-world fission fuel. It even tells you where to mine.

Re:Why the moon? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42578163)

Going to Mars for fuel is likely driving to the opposite end of the country to buy groceries.

Re:Good and Bad (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42578713)

We could simply launch the nuclear fuel in a separate conventional rocket. Devoting the entire payload of the rocket (minus the relatively small nuclear fuel weight) to building an effectively indestructible fuel carrier would not be difficult and would make radioactive dispersal impossible.

Re:Good and Bad (1)

camperdave (969942) | about 2 years ago | (#42578925)

Why not use a nuclear rocket? Nothing can explode. There is no radioactive waste. It has the high thrust you need to get out of the Earth's gravity well. It's all plusses and no minuses.

Re:Good and Bad (2)

balsy2001 (941953) | about 2 years ago | (#42579157)

You are confused about the physics. The nuclear fuel in a nuclear rocket is intended to sustain a fission chain reaction. That chain reaction is what replaces the burning process in chemical rockets and provides the energy to accelerate the exhaust gases. Just like chemical rockets, there are high temperature/ high pressure chambers that the propulsion fluid passes through (in the case of a nuclear rocket, it is also where the fuel is and where the fission chain reaction takes place). Any time you have high temperature and pressure you have the ingredients for an explosion. You can reduce the risk of the explosion by using stringent quality control and inspection techniques along with increasing the design margin, but the risk will never be 0. As for the radioactivity, since the critical time of the fuel will be very short it will reduce the total fission product inventory but won't eliminate it (It is possible to run very low power reactors without really making the fuel radioactive, but those power level are orders of magnitude less than what is required to put a rocket into orbit).

Re:Good and Bad (1)

balsy2001 (941953) | about 2 years ago | (#42579191)

This could reduce some of the risks, but at a cost. You would have to protect the fuel from burn-up on re-entry. Even if you accomplish that, you still have a container falling to earth at critical velocity that has to be able to impact anywhere on earth and maintain a nuclear safe configuration (i.e., landing in the ocean and potentially flooding with water, on fire). Plus any systems that you use to mitigate the problems would have to survive the event that cause the launch failure. Building a container that meets the current Government (US) requirements for nuclear fuel that travels on trains IS a long and difficult process. You don't get to stop at the design stage with these kinds of things you have to to actual accident tests for the container and show it meets the requirements. Do I think this could be done? Yes, but it isn't easy.

Re:Good and Bad (2)

Intrepid imaginaut (1970940) | about 2 years ago | (#42578013)

Yes, build it in space and work from there. I think we're going to have to re-evaluate the idea of spaceships taking off from earth in the same way that cargo ships can't go across land.

Re:Good and Bad (1)

symbolset (646467) | about 2 years ago | (#42578227)

Yes, and for that we'll need raw materials and fuel to lift up from LEO the masses involved. Fortunately Planetary Resources is all over this one. I suspect the first uses of nuclear energy in space will be the secret projects of commercial entities. Which isn't so far fetched. Kodak [gizmodo.com] used to have their own nuclear reactor, and GE does still.

Re:Good and Bad (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42578437)

You are some 40 years behind. The USSR already put nuclear reactors into orbit, and as another poster mentioned, they're still up there. Some of them are leaking.

http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20090907012539AAz0sd0

Re:Good and Bad (1)

symbolset (646467) | about 2 years ago | (#42578597)

It was banned by treaty. Anecdotally giving us the Toynbee tiles enigma. "Footballs in space" and all that.

Re:Good and Bad (2)

John Hasler (414242) | about 2 years ago | (#42578089)

> A failure on launch could result in releasing radioactive
> fission products over large areas.

Wrong. The reactor would be launched cold, prior to having ever been fired up. In that state it would contain no fission products and fewer curies of radioactive material than an RTG. It also (like an RTG) would be constructed in such a way as to almost certainly survive re-entry intact.

Re:Good and Bad (0)

camperdave (969942) | about 2 years ago | (#42578939)

> A failure on launch could result in releasing radioactive > fission products over large areas.

Wrong. The reactor would be launched cold, prior to having ever been fired up. In that state it would contain no fission products and fewer curies of radioactive material than an RTG. It also (like an RTG) would be constructed in such a way as to almost certainly survive re-entry intact.

Wrong. The "reactor" needs to be hot because it is what heats the propellant to produce thrust. The whole point of a nuclear rocket is the high thrust needed to get off the planet. Chemical fuels can only provide so much lift.

Re:Good and Bad (1)

fermion (181285) | about 2 years ago | (#42578553)

Thank you for saying that. Also, systems that are going to propel a rocket over long times have to be reliable. Like in Voyager reliable. Who power comes from nuclear thermoelectric device,but propulsion from hydrazine. For small satellites the propulsion can be nitrogen.

Space travel is hard and there are three steps. The launch, the travel and the landing or orbit. For unmanned travel, there are several options. One of the most interesting might be an ion drive, which would accelerate a ship to 300000kph in a year.

The real research needs to be done on launch. One possibility is slingshot, but current systems appear to be many orders of magnitude away from supplying the necessary energy.

Re:Good and Bad (1)

0123456 (636235) | about 2 years ago | (#42579087)

The reactor would not be powered up until late in the launch, possibly not even until it had reached parking orbit and was leaving for its destination. For NERVA launches which started the reactor before reaching orbit, the trajectory was chosen so if there was a failure the reactor would crash in Antarctica... unfortunately that made it far less efficient so it's debatable as to whether it was worthwhile.

Can I vote against this? (5, Interesting)

mspohr (589790) | about 2 years ago | (#42577785)

I would really like to be able to vote against some of the stupid ideas on the White House web site. It would help to have a crowd function to weed out some of the wackier ideas.

Re:Can I vote against this? (0, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42577933)

I could never understand people like you that seem to fear science. Why go about denying a possibly useful tool? Regulate it, keep it safe but never out right ban things that's just foolish.

Re:Can I vote against this? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42578255)

How is this science? Please explain. This is engineering mixed in with sci-fi fantasies.

Re:Can I vote against this? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42578535)

One was already made. [wikipedia.org] Science is a process, not an object. This object is a tool to advance science. Even if one was never launched, just building it the best we could would advance our technological expertise. A worthy goal.

Re:Can I vote against this? (1)

BradleyUffner (103496) | about 2 years ago | (#42579003)

I could never understand people like you that seem to fear science. Why go about denying a possibly useful tool? Regulate it, keep it safe but never out right ban things that's just foolish.

Right, so we should take that petition to build the Death Star seriously.

Re:Can I vote against this? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42578879)

I would really like to vote against anti-progress murderers such as yourself. People like you willing to murder millions of people in the name of anti-progress by voting against feeding people with GM crops, and who are willing to murder their own children in the name of anti-progress by allowing them to contract deadly ailments we have eradicated decades ago by being anti-vaccine, have no place voting on anything scientific.

If you want to murder your own children, go off to some 3rd world country and die like an amish fool there. Leave the rest of the human race alone and alive.
Get off your computer that you are so against existing, and get off the Internet that you are so against, and leave science and progress to those with an IQ above a rock.

Re:Can I vote against this? (1)

a_hanso (1891616) | about 2 years ago | (#42579203)

I agree. These petitions (What's next? Convert Cheyenne Mountain into a wormhole research facility?) dilute what little influence the petition process already has. Someday the government will be able to point to all the wacky petitions when they really need to trivialize a valid petition that they consider a threat.

Want to do something for science? Look at the Brits. They petitioned for an apology for the way the government treated Alan Turing. And they got an uncharacteristically honest and unqualified apology.

Pissing in the wind (1, Insightful)

cosm (1072588) | about 2 years ago | (#42577819)

Signing those petitions is pissing in the wind.

Re:Pissing in the wind (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42577869)

Signing those petitions is pissing in the wind.

I think you mean...."into the wind."

Re:Pissing in the wind (1)

RoccamOccam (953524) | about 2 years ago | (#42578029)

No, it's an old Bob Dylan song, though more correctly "Pissin' in the Wind".

Re:Pissing in the wind (1)

Nefarious Wheel (628136) | about 2 years ago | (#42578883)

Neil Young.

Re:Pissing in the wind (1)

timeOday (582209) | about 2 years ago | (#42577979)

Yeah, well, last week's big petition was to build a Death Star, that got 34,435 signatures. So, yeah, they're toilet paper.

Re:Pissing in the wind - SPREADING IDEAS (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42578107)

Just because the white house itself may not be able to actually perform the action requested by the 30,000 signers, it nonetheless spreads populace ideas well throughout the population. I wasn't even aware this issue is on the minds of anyone and I'm glad to learn about it through the petitioning system.

Perhaps other governing bodies or peoples will be reading these petitions, taking them seriously, and actually be able to do something about them.

ah, good, somebody "gets it" (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42578209)

Those petitions are fun and the W.H. response to the Death Star petition was actually funny...... but ...... the real point of the petitions was to fool the Presidents young internet-active "social media" addicts that he was one of them and was listening to them.

He probably never sees most..... and the few that he sees are probably presented to him so he can laugh at how stupid his followers are. The punch line on this joke will hit in 25 years when his by-then grown-up supporters realize that the TRILLIONS of dollars of new debt he heaped upon them and their kids has made them the 1st generation of Americans ever to be so abused by their predecessors that they will spend their entire working lives paying the interest on the maxed-out national credit card. They will have a lower standard of living than their parents ..... and Social Security and Medicare (which those people will have payed into their entire working lives) will have collapsed and will provide them nothing or next-to-nothing. Those trillions of dollars did not build a new 21st century power grid, or provide national high-speed rail service, or national fiber optic internet service, or do a massive upgrade in other infrastructure like repair of all our old bridges..... it mostly went to things like supporting the pensions of the unions who supported Obama, expanding the food stamps program to sign-up as many people as possible, etc. Most of the "green energy" money "invested" went to businesses owned by Obama campaign contributors, many of who pocketed the cash and then shuttered those "businesses"

rapidly deploying? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42577845)

I like "rapidly developing and deploying" Nuclear Technlogy. Sounds like that won't cause any problems at all. Typicall...

You *had* to mention thorium... (1)

verifine (685231) | about 2 years ago | (#42577885)

Somehow it all brings Tom Lehrer back to mind: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DYW50F42ss8

Another Deathstar? (1, Funny)

AndyKron (937105) | about 2 years ago | (#42577911)

I don't know, I'm still despondent over the response about building a Death-star. I really thought blowing up planets was their policy.

Re:Another Deathstar? (2)

PPH (736903) | about 2 years ago | (#42578643)

I really thought blowing up planets was their policy.

One country at a time.

Pi in the sky (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42577987)

Nuclear thermal rockets still require an exhaustible, usually liquid propellant source.

Re:Pi in the sky (1)

camperdave (969942) | about 2 years ago | (#42578959)

Nuclear thermal rockets still require an exhaustible, usually liquid propellant source.

Plenty of seawater lying around.

So its only a matter of time before ... (2)

3seas (184403) | about 2 years ago | (#42578001)

"we the people" white house petitions are perceived as being nothing more than hollywood babel.
Do you really think there are 25,000 people who have any clue about this subject matter of the petition?
Imagine the "Death Star" petition and the white house response. if that ain't hollywood... what is.

Here is one for contrast: https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/petition/provide-each-taxpayer-independent-voice-where-taxes-they-pay-are-be-allocated-and-used-all-tax/cxBlXQht [whitehouse.gov]

lets prove the point.

Re:So its only a matter of time before ... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42578011)

Hey Timmy, how's the VIC coming along for the Amiga? Few more centuries and you'll be at the batch-file level of power!

Re:So its only a matter of time before ... (1)

3seas (184403) | about 2 years ago | (#42578161)

Typical agent smith style off topic tactic, but ultimately all systems of belief are based on abstraction, be it religion, government, military, economy and money, etc.. So what world of abstract constraints are you living in? Certainly not one of crowd sourcing government as Iceland has done to successfully economically recover.

But thanks you for helping to make my point regarding the hollywoodness of the "we the people" white house petition site.

Re:So its only a matter of time before ... (1)

Todd Palin (1402501) | about 2 years ago | (#42578235)

Hey Tim, I signed the petition. Only 24,997 signatures to go. Good luck with that.

What about Nuclear electric instead? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42578071)

Personally, I think a Nuclear powered electric generator would be a better option. Although it wouldn't be used to get a rocket off the ground, it would just be used for in space propulsion only.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nuclear_electric_rocket

Project Orion (1)

AndrewStephens (815287) | about 2 years ago | (#42578119)

Enough of this namby-pamby nuclear rocket talk. What we need is Project Orion [wikipedia.org] to be restarted. Imagine lifting oil-tanker sized craft from the ground into space using only a few hundred nuclear bombs, what could possibly go wrong?

Re:Project Orion (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42578431)

Absolutely nothing.

You may fire when ready, Commander.

Nuclear Rockets (1)

hackus (159037) | about 2 years ago | (#42578147)

Yaaaaaaaaaaaaawwwwwwwwwwwwnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn.

Someone wake me up when we get to the 21st century tech.

-Hack

Much Better & More Important Petition (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42578213)

http://wh.gov/E4bR

DEMOCRACY THROUGH TECHNOLOGY PETITION (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42578221)

http://wh.gov/E4bR

"Many of the petitions created and signed on this website are requests which fall outside of the powers of the Executive Branch and fall within the powers of the Legislative Branch.

This petition asks the Obama Administration to do something very much so within the scope of its legal powers - to very seriously and strongly urge the Legislative Branch to create a similar petitioning system as the Executive Branch has so awesomely created in the form of this website.

With the idea in mind that our government represents our population, it is a disgrace that our actual legislative body has yet to grasp the communicative powers of the internet by allowing a new profound transparency into the inner workings of itself.

We the people desire a higher form of democracy through technology."

Re:DEMOCRACY THROUGH TECHNOLOGY PETITION (1)

3seas (184403) | about 2 years ago | (#42578361)

This country was founded as a Republic, it is wrongly promoted as a Democracy but in actuality it has become an Oligarchy. And when it gets right down to it, its about money. So where do you want your taxes spent or do you typically go into a store and hand the cashier your money and take whatever they give you? How about we the people take control of budgeting and accounting by each of us saying where to allocate the tax funding we individually supply our employee government with? That way the representatives can actually literally financially know how to represent us in this republic. Income tax shouldn't be anything more than a similar percentage of what sales tax is, giving everyone say in what teamwork benefit generating way their taxes are to be used. Vote to hire who is best qualified to optimize the team work benefit generation of taxpayers sum intents. And its side effect of self esteem in knowing you are actively participating in teamwork benefits you share in. Of course you can select to let the government decide where to use your taxes and here the voters can help to determine use.

Can it really be this simple? Occums razor... yes!

But who believe the government is really listening or that this crowd sourcing can work? Personally I'll be totally amazed if this petition https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/petition/provide-each-taxpayer-independent-voice-where-taxes-they-pay-are-be-allocated-and-used-all-tax/cxBlXQht [whitehouse.gov] gets enough signers to even just be searchable on the site (150) much more so if it gets enough to just see how the Obama Administration responds to dismiss it.

Just send up the fuel separately... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42578405)

...in a sealed container. No risk at all. Unpack in space and add to the ship.

Not very useful the way it's worded. (5, Interesting)

Soralin (2437154) | about 2 years ago | (#42578603)

Nuclear Thermal Rockets can have a higher efficiency than than conventional chemical rockets, but it's not as much as you might think. There's a limitation that to have a higher exhaust velocity in a thermal rocket, the exhaust needs to be hotter. And it can only be so much hotter before your reactor starts becoming molten rather than a solid. Which means that efficiency tops out at a bit less than double the exhaust velocity of conventional rockets.

Now, that's still useful, if you can get enough thrust to get up off of the planet (and to overcome the weight of the reactor in the process), then you might be able to lift quite a bit more into orbit. Except the petition is for an NTR that would only operate in space. And in space, where you don't really have to worry about the amount of thrust, and your speed is limited by your fuel and your exhaust velocity, things like ion drives can reach efficiencies an order of magnitude higher, or more. Which means, an NTR in space only wouldn't be as useful, compared to nuclear-electric or solar-electric propulsion.

I suppose an NTR not used for Earth surface to orbit might still be useful in landing or taking off from other objects. Really, that's where its strength would be, if you can get it to have high enough thrust, then it would be useful for getting things into orbit and back, as a surface-to-orbit ship. But as far as orbit-to-orbit ships go, ion drives and other electric propulsion can get a lot more speed out of the same tank of propellant.

Re:Not very useful the way it's worded. (4, Informative)

CrimsonAvenger (580665) | about 2 years ago | (#42579027)

Hmm, ion engine Isp of 20000, say. Thrust of 10 newtons. All-up spacecraft mass of 75 tons.

Time to escape speed from LEO, about 22 months.

NERVA, Isp = 800, say. Thrust of 300,000 newtons. All-up spacecraft mass of 100 tons.

Time to escape speed from LEO, about 18 MINUTES.

NERVA isn't a replacement for an ion drive on a deep-space probe, it's a replacement for a chemical rocket on a (large) manned spacecraft going from LEO (or higher) to a similar orbit around the moon/mars/venus/wherever.

Re:Not very useful the way it's worded. (2)

balsy2001 (941953) | about 2 years ago | (#42579223)

Correct, but one idea that gets tossed around is to have a nuclear reactor (different than a nuclear rocket) to power the ion engines. Last decade there was a project in the works (it got canceled) to use a reactor to power the Jupiter Icy Moons mission.

Term Limits for Congress (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42578617)

http://wh.gov/Ec38

I know that the President cannot change the term limits, but would like to hear from the White House anyway. Only takes a minute to sign it.

Thanks

Re:Term Limits for Congress (1)

Cat_Herder_GoatRoper (2491400) | about 2 years ago | (#42578645)

If you get the sigs post the response.

to the americna retards (0, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42578775)

the reason this hasn't been developed is the united nations has a traty banning nuclear weapons in space of which the usa signed.
its why the orion space craft that basically had nuclear explosions out its butt to move it were scrapped.

move along nut bars next try

what a waste (2)

kimvette (919543) | about 2 years ago | (#42579049)

We have energy shortages here, why would we waste fissible materials on this? We need to solve problems on the ground first before we consider using limited resources that will be spent in space with no possibility of recycling.

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