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New Nuclear-powered Spaceship Design Revealed

CowboyNeal posted more than 6 years ago | from the goes-to-eleven dept.

Space 285

Iddo Genuth writes "A U.S. based company introduced an innovative propulsion system that could significantly shorten round trips from Earth to Mars (from two years to only six months) and enable future spaceships to reach Jupiter after one year of space traveling. The system, which may dramatically affect interplanetary space travel is called the Miniature Magnetic Orion (Mini-Mag Orion for short), and is an optimization of the 1958 Orion interplanetary propulsion concept."

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That's nothing.. (-1)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 6 years ago | (#20691817)

I've developed an improvement to William Gibson's design of the neural interface so that you can't be killed by ICE.

It's about as impressive as this announcement.

Re:That's nothing.. (3, Insightful)

cduffy (652) | more than 6 years ago | (#20691861)

That's unfair. Gibson's "design" was loose speculation, whereas hard math has been done both on the original Orion and on this potential improvement.

Certainly, neither of them has existed in practice -- but one was wild speculation, whereas the other had (and has) actual engineering.

Re:That's nothing.. (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20691929)

Oh, quit your bickering you two

We can argue on slashdot all we want but what's The Difference.... Engine [wikipedia.org]

Re:That's nothing.. (5, Informative)

Rei (128717) | more than 6 years ago | (#20692447)

Still, this has very little to do with Orion apart from them both being nuclear pulse propulsion. They only call it a successor to Orion because most people are familiar with Orion.

Orion has already been obsoleted by a similar (but much more effective) design using normal-sized nuclear explosions -- Medusa [wikipedia.org] . Medusa reverses the Orion design, having a parachute in front towing the craft, and detonating the explosives in front of the parachute. It uses structures in tension instead of compression (lighter), it allows the explosions to be further from the craft (less radiation), allows a longer acceleration stroke (smoother acceleration), and captures a larger percentage of the explosive energy.

Re:That's nothing.. (4, Informative)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 6 years ago | (#20692179)

Reading the (now Slashdotted) article, it sounds like this design came directly out of research done into antimatter catalyzed micro-fission [wikipedia.org] . ACMF is a well-proven technology that uses minuscule amounts of antimatter to kickstart or enhance a fission reaction. Because the technology was fairly straightforward and had good returns for antimatter quantities that are reasonable to produce, NASA was funding research into an engine called ICAN [astronautix.com] .

I remember that there was some talk of actually launching a small probe based on the concept, but apparently the plan was scrapped. (Probably to help fund manned space travel.) Whatever antimatter confinement technologies they were working on may have led to the development of this new magnetic confinement fission technology. Or it could just be a coincidence.

Either way, nuclear technology of this sort is fairly well developed and is not a pipe dream. At least not from an engineering standpoint. Getting the risk adverse US Government and NASA to actually build one of the many known-quantity engines we have on hand is a completely different ball of wax. They're still trying to get us reliable LEO access (Thank God for Griffin is all I can say), so I doubt we'll be seeing any advanced engines in practice until the CEV/Orion project enters its third phase.

Re:That's nothing.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20692407)

It's about as impressive as this announcement.
Do you mean the part where they said "The spacecraft itself will only have to carry a relatively small amount of fissionable material as fuel and will be able to reach speeds of approximately 10% of the speed of light."

I have a hard time believing that. I'd have to see their calculations. If true then this technology could make interstellar spacecraft possible (sorry only robots with at least 50 year travel times for now).

Didn't we (5, Funny)

scoot80 (1017822) | more than 6 years ago | (#20691819)

recently have an article about trip to mars in a week? So.. this is really.. an inferior mode of transport for all those Mars holidayers...

hopefully (3, Funny)

weirdcrashingnoises (1151951) | more than 6 years ago | (#20691829)

Hopefully this spaceship will be able to slow down before it reaches mars.

Unlike some spaceships... http://science.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=07/09/13/2328233 [slashdot.org]

Re:hopefully (0, Redundant)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 6 years ago | (#20692187)

Hopefully this spaceship will be able to slow down before it reaches mars.

Um, oh oh
        -NASA-
     

Re:hopefully (2, Insightful)

moderatorrater (1095745) | more than 6 years ago | (#20692435)

What makes you think the photonic drive wouldn't be able to slow down? Does the drive not work if you flip the ship in the opposite direction?

Re:hopefully (0, Troll)

ILuvRamen (1026668) | more than 6 years ago | (#20692609)

that's your biggest worry? What ever happened to "we'll never make a nuclear powered anything to go into space because if it blows up after it launches it will spread nuclear material through the atmosphere and cause a mild nuclear winter and radioactive rain" thing I learned in school? It can crash into Mars all it wants as long as it clears out atmosphere without killing us all

Re:hopefully (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20692669)

Re:hopefully (1)

NeoTron (6020) | more than 6 years ago | (#20692859)

Look, really, where do people like you get your concepts of space travel from?

You were probably trying to be humorous, but, really! Lookee here;

1) Start your trip from Earth Orbit, by firing up them engines and transferring into a nice trajectory to our friendly-neighborhood planet Mars.
2) ???
3) Profit!... no, I mean, half-way through the journey (or actually, just a little bit before half way, to give some leeway for properly transferring into a Mars orbital path), switch off them engines!
4) Swing your craft around so that the pointy-end is towards the trajectory's rear and the business end (the engines) are pointing towards the trajectory's forward path.
5) Fire up them engines again! Hey presto! You're now slowing down.
6) Transfer into a Mars orbit.
7) ???
8) Profit!

Nice idea but... (0)

click2005 (921437) | more than 6 years ago | (#20691835)

The use of nuclear power in space is banned by treaty.

Oh dear... (4, Funny)

Roger W Moore (538166) | more than 6 years ago | (#20691877)

...I think someone forgot to tell the sun.

Re:Oh dear... (1)

MillionthMonkey (240664) | more than 6 years ago | (#20692075)

But an international treaty means nothing to the son. [bbc.co.uk]

Re:Nice idea but... (3, Insightful)

hedwards (940851) | more than 6 years ago | (#20691915)

A treaty is only as good as the signatories. There is no particular reason why the signatories couldn't write and sign a new treaty that just specified that there were to be no nuclear powered satellites in orbit or nuclear weapons in space.

As that is more or less the intent. A spaceship that was nuclear powered would really only be an issue if it was allowed to orbit the earth long enough to fall out of orbit.

Wrong (2, Informative)

StefanJ (88986) | more than 6 years ago | (#20691941)

Nuclear weapons, yes.

Power sources, no.

There are plenty of probes and spy satellites that are powered by plutonium-laden RTGs.

Re:Wrong (2, Insightful)

Nyeerrmm (940927) | more than 6 years ago | (#20692395)

Orion operates by exploding a weapon against a thrust plate, so it really qualifies as a weapon, which is at least one reason Orion was cancelled. I'm not sure how the treaty applies to space-based reactors, but theres definitely a large difference between an RTG and reactor as well.

Re:Wrong (3, Interesting)

zippthorne (748122) | more than 6 years ago | (#20692741)

Which is quite ironic, considering Orion was conceived as a way to reduce nuclear weapons stockpiles...

Re:Wrong (1)

PitaBred (632671) | more than 6 years ago | (#20692863)

The only thing that qualifies something as a weapon is how it's used. A hammer can be either a weapon or a tool. I think the same can be said of dynamite, and by extension, nuclear explosives.

Re:Nice idea but... (2, Informative)

Jarik C-Bol (894741) | more than 6 years ago | (#20691983)

no, nuclear weapons in space are banned by treaty. we use nuclear power in the form of nuclear batterys in space all the time. mostly because they can stand up to the temprature extremes of space, and will outlast the hardware they are installed in. (Vs a alkaline or some other form of battery, which does not have these properties.)

Cassini (4, Informative)

mark0 (750639) | more than 6 years ago | (#20692119)

You mean like a plutonium powered vehicle [wikipedia.org] ?

Re:Cassini (3, Informative)

MillionthMonkey (240664) | more than 6 years ago | (#20692409)

An RTG doesn't count. If they use plutonium, it's Pu-238 (alpha emitter) with a half life of less than 90 years, not Pu-239 which has a 90,000 year half life (fewer watts per gram) and can support a chain reaction (so it's needed for other things). There are lots of them scattered about the former Soviet Union so if you're doing any hiking there, avoid heat-emanating ceramic objects. [iaea.org]

When not using solar panels (conspicuous and vulnerable) Americans like to power their satellites with RTGs. The Soviets put 35 reactor-powered satellites in orbit and only a few RTG-powered satellites. What was forbidden by the treaty was nuclear weapons, specifically including tests. An interstellar spacecraft powered by nuclear explosions would be a great way to sneakily test your weapons in full view of everyone.

Re:Nice idea but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20692193)

The Russians use nuclear reactors on various satelites not just RTGs. Like Cosmos 954 that came down in northern Canada. Or one leaking sodium coolant resulting in thousands of droplets now orbiting the earth like bullets to take out other satelites or spacecraft.

Re:Nice idea but... (3, Informative)

GreggBz (777373) | more than 6 years ago | (#20692249)

The use of nuclear weapons is banned, yes.

There has been research into nuclear rockets (NERVA) [wikipedia.org] , and nuclear power sources.

Project Prometheus [wikipedia.org] shows promise. Already, most of the long range probes that NASA has use radioactive decay as a power source, which is pretty safe and reliable.

jupiter? (0, Redundant)

farkus888 (1103903) | more than 6 years ago | (#20691837)

Jupiter in a year is great but how long does it take to get to Uranus?

Re:jupiter? (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20691881)

Like all things to do with space travel, it depends on how much you're willing to pay

Re:jupiter? (5, Funny)

moosesocks (264553) | more than 6 years ago | (#20692215)

Obligatory:

Fry: Hey, as long as you don't make me smell Uranus. (laughs)
Leela: I don't get it.
Professor: I'm sorry, Fry, but astronomers renamed Uranus in 2620 to end that stupid joke once and for all.
Fry: Oh. What's it called now?
Professor: Urectum.

speaking of revealing... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20691847)

My name is Susan. I'm not using my last name because I have read some of the e-mails that you people have sent regarding my son's story about raping me - frankly you people make me sick. You disgust and scare the shit out of me. What my son did was wrong. It was evil. He betrayed me, he RAPED me! He laughed in my face, spit on my love, and then wrote to every fucking adult story site, bragging about how all he wanted for Christmas was my sweet ass. But you people loved it. You loved it when he stormed into my bedroom and stripped me. You just loved it when he agreed not to get me pregnant, only if I would help him fuck my ass.

Oh you thought it was so great when I spread my ass for him, when he licked and sucked and drooled in my butt, when he made me cum like a slutty little whore. You begged him for pictures of me. Just because I posed for Penthouse years ago does not mean I want you seeing me now. I'm a completely different person. Some of you felt I deserved it because I allowed my son to kiss me and fondle me a little earlier. I was drunk, I missed my dead husband. John looks just like his father at 16; the age that I met and fell in love with him. He took me out to the Paladin Club for a special dinner, just like my husband used to. For a little while the alcohol, my loneliness and the fond memories of that place combined and it felt like my loving husband was with me again. For a little while I responded to my son as if he were my husband. From his filthy story that he published via Webtv, I learned that was his plan all along.

While it is true that was a mistake, it does not change one simple fact. I said NO! I begged him to stop. Even if a woman makes out with you a little, even if she feels a guy's butt through his pants, that does not mean she has to have sex with him. I have the right not to be fucked up the ass by my son. No means NO. One year ago my son took something precious away from me. He took my ability to trust myself, my judgement.

I mean if I am too stupid to realize that my only son is lusting after me for weeks, that he is committed to raping his mother - who can I trust? This last year has been a shit-storm. I have tried to forget and forgive my son. But when I saw that he used that fucking WEBTV to tell the whole world what he did, that there was no shame, no remorse - I feel the anger begin to bubble up in me. When I think how many of you took pleasure in my rape, how many of you beat your tiny little pricks in glee at my humiliation, at the worst thing that has ever happened to me - I want revenge. Yes John took something precious from me; but this Christmas I'm taking it back.

I'm getting a little ahead of myself. I did not come to the decision to rape and humiliate my son easily. I want you to understand that. The period immediately after my rape was very difficult. I could not bring myself to call the police on my only son, to humiliate myself further by letting the whole world know what a fool I was, what a sick prick I had for a son. I was so scared. Imagine sleeping every night with a rapist in your house. You try taking a shower knowing your rapist is just a few yards away. You're naked, wet and defenceless and you hear a floor board creek, or was it the bathroom door opening? For two months I barricaded my door every night, and slept in fear of a second rape. It never came.

At Valentine's day I found my 16 yr old son crying in the kitchen. I was still his mother. No matter how angry I was at him.

"John, what's wrong, why are you crying."

"Oh mom(sniffle), I just realized that you are never going to forgive me for what I did. You don't love me any more. With Dad and Grandma dead, I have nobody. Mom I didn't really rape you. I just needed you so bad, I kind of pressured you until you surrendered that incredible ass to me. I know it was wrong, that it was a mistake. But mom, wasn't it wrong for you to make out with me and squeeze my ass while we were dancing? Look - all I'm saying is we would both handle things differently if we could relive that night."

As a mother it is never easy to see your child in pain. Your instincts take over and you want to comfort him. I can't explain it better than that. As angry as I was... there was a part of me that had to wonder what would have happened if I had stopped my son the first time he kissed me. If I had never gotten drunk, or played with his ass, would he have raped me that night? Was this my fault?

"John, I don't hate you... I have to admit that you have damaged our relationship. I am a little scared to be around you, but I am still your mother and I want us to work things out."

I was startled when my son rushed over to me and wrapped his arms around me and held me tight to him. He was still crying.

"I am so sorry mom, I love you. Please you gotta forgive me. I need your love and your trust back. Just say you will give us a chance. I swear to god mom I will never force you to have sex with me again."

At first I was so scared being held by my rapist, smelling him, feeling my breasts mash tight against his chest I did not know what to do. Then a strange thing happened. As he rocked me, as his tears washed me, as I heard the pain and sincerity in his voice... he started becoming my son again. I briefly hugged him back, and reached up to brush his tears away. No matter what he had done this was my only son. He was right about one thing, we had nobody else.

"John... I want us to get past this. I am willing to try. You are my son and I love you. It's going to take some time but... I think we have a good chance if we take it slow and work hard," I said as my son lifted me in the air and spun me around. He was deliriously happy and it was infectious. John held me for several minutes. He seemed so grateful for the privilege he did not want it to end. It was almost as if he feared that once he let me go I would retreat back into the shell of the past 2 months. John was a big bo - strike that, a big man. At 6'2" he was defensive captain of the jr varsity football team. I could feel his muscles rippling and bulging around me. His hands were so large, they covered half my back and stomach, When he lifted me I felt myself sliding against him, against his manhood. He wasn't exactly erect but... there was definitely some activity down there. He must have felt me stiffen, because he put me down immediately.

"Mom, I have a great idea; now hear me out. If we are going to start over, I'd like to have another chance at our date. Think about it - that's where everything went wrong. I need to be able to see you as my mom again, not as an incredibly sexy woman. This Saturday is Valentines Day, let's go to the Paladin Club again. If I can control myself there, if I can dance with you, in a romantic setting, if we can drink and let our guards down around each other - just have fun like we used to, I think it will go a long way to healing us. Please mom, I'm begging you. Give me a chance to prove that you can trust me."

For that one instant I did trust him. He sounded so sincere, so desperate to please. Still I was surprised when I heard my voice say "yes" to him.

I rushed out of the kitchen and locked myself in my room. The next morning there was a knock on my bedroom door. "Mom, can I come in, I need to talk." I was wearing a pair of green silk pajamas, I threw a robe on over it and said, "Come in."

This was the first time John and I had been in my room since Christmas, since the night he raped me. I felt my heart pounding, but I tried to stay calm. As I looked at him I could see he was upset about something. He sat down next to me on the bed. The bed he had fucked my ass in less than 2 months earlier. I was a little scared but I tried to be a good mother.

"Tell me what's wrong John, you seem pretty upset."

"It's Beth mom, I think she's going to dump me cuz I'm too inexperienced. You were my first real woman. I was into sports so much, and then I was in love with you for months... I was a virgin when we made love. Beth has been great for me and I don't want to lose her, but I don't know what to do." I could not believe it, he was seeing a girl his own age. This was terrific! I had been so out of touch with his life lately, I did not even know he was dating. I wanted this relationship to succeed. I needed my son to re-focus his attention on another woman. I was afraid if this relationship ended badly he would fixate on me again. If he needed help I would make sure he got it.

"John, is there anything specific that Beth doesn't like about your relationship?"

"Well... it's kind of embarrassing, but... she doesn't seem to like kissing me, she's always distracted or, I don't know, bored. I guess I'm not a very good kisser," he mumbled.

I was very confused. I found myself in the odd and awkward position of taking up for my son's kissing technique. I knew firsthand that he was an amazing kisser. Before he raped me I had willingly made out with him twice. The way he licked and sucked on my lips... was simply delicious. His tongue played with mine and I was just a step away from surrendering my body to him when my conscience woke me up and I told him to stop. No matter what happened after - his kisses were sweet and had made my pussy sweat, and drip, and itch for him. Something drastic must have changed. I decided to find out what.

"John... don't take this the wrong way... but the only way I can help is to see what you are doing wrong. Can you control yourself enough to show me? I am trusting you to stop when I tell you to. I want to help but I will hate you forever if you take advantage of me again. Are we clear? When I say stop, you stop," I warned in a stern tone. I stood up and moved close to my son. I could see he was nervous and that helped me a little. Slowly he bent towards me and lightly brushed my lips with his. At first he kissed all around the corners of my mouth before pulling me in snug for a deep soul kiss. As I shared my son's warmth, breath and saliva there was no denying that it felt good. That surprised me. How could it possibly feel good to kiss the man who raped me? To this day I don't know. Sometimes I think back to that moment and realize how different my life would have been, if I had not kissed my son that fateful Valentine's eve. I knew it was wrong, as good as it felt to be in his arms, to kiss his neck, to suck on his Adam's apple - I never lost track of that. I guess that's why I asked him to stop.

"Please mom, mmm just a litttle longer baby. You taste so good."

"John let go of me now! Take your hands off me this instant!" I yelled in rising panic.

"Mom, mom calm down, I'm not gonna hurt you. Look I'm stepping back. It's over. I won't hurt you ever again, baby. You can trust me." As I collected myself a part of me felt cold. My body had begun instinctively preparing itself for sex and suddenly it was over. A part of me cried out in protest at the removal of my son's warmth. I wanted to wrap myself in his strong arms, to feel his thick hard-on jamming into me. The silk of my pajamas was gliding over my clit, and clung between the folds of my ass. I was horny, and wet, and a little scared - but mostly I was horny. What's more I think I knew what John's problem with Beth was, and it wasn't good.

"John, do you kiss Beth like you just kissed me?"

"No way mom, you kiss a lot better than she does. Don't worry mom, I'm not going to do it; but after one kiss I feel like stripping those pajamas off you, spreading you on this bed and licking your cunt. I want to taste your sweet assmeat agin, to play with it, to ram my cock in it until you tell me that you love me. Beth never makes me feel like that. I'm starting to realize she never will... oh my god, the reason I'm so bad with her is cuz I don't love her. I think part of me feels like I'm cheating on you. That you won't want me if you found out I was fooling around with another woman. I still love you mom, only you. What am I gong to do, the only woman I want is the one that I can never have, oh mom what am I going to do?" John said in bitter dismay as he ran out of my room.

"I don't know son, I don't know what we are going to do," I said to the walls of my empty room.

Valentines Day had arrived and we spent most of the day avoiding the large pink elephant that was in every room of our house. I could not believe that I was really going to do it. I was going out on a second date with my son, the Rapist. It was a strange day from the start.

"Mom, wake up. I made you breakfast."

It took me a few minutes to adjust to my surroundings. I was in my bed. I had been dreaming of my 10th wedding anniversary. My husband had taken me to the Paladin Club. Afterwards we had come home and made love for hours. It was the first time he had worked up the nerve to ask me for anal sex. I always knew he liked playing with my ass. Ron would often sniff and kiss me down there, but it had never gone any farther. Once shortly after I posed for Penthouse he jokingly pretended that he could not find my pussy hole and suggested using the other one instead. I guess the look of fear and disgust on my face had caused him to wait over 8 years before asking again. That night I was deliriously happy, more than a little tipsy, and madly in love. I could not deny Ron my ass. He was so gentle, incredibly tender. He let me get used to his thick cock filling my tiny asshole.

He was so grateful after that first fuck, I just could not deny him a second one the next night. Anal sex definitely added spice and new energy to our sex life. Ron slowly trained me to need him that way. He always made sure that I came at least twice anally. Sometimes he would lick my anus, plunging his tongue in and out, deeper and deeper, while rubbing and massaging my butt cheeks for what seemed like hours. Often he made me cum by playing with my clit while he rammed my ass. Anal sex became the predominant way we made love. Oh, he'd fuck my pussy sometimes. I mean sometimes I'd get an itch there and only a nice thick donkey dick could scratch it. But I always knew after that first time, on my 10th wedding anniversary that my husband was never completely satisfied till he spread my cheeks open and slipped into the bottom of my tender, juicy little ass. That night was special to me, and after my husband's death, I'd revisit it. I'd smile at my dream lover and wait for that unique sensation of him slowly filling my ass with his cock.

I had obviously been having that dream again the morning John came into my room. My legs were slick with my own juices. and the front of my pajamas were noticeably damp. I had been sweating profusely and smelled like an odd mix of sweat, sex, soap and body lotion. I slowly opened my eyes and could see that John had prepared a lovely breakfast for us. By the time I was fully conscious he had set up two trays and before I could protest slid into bed next to me. We had done it 100 times before but not once since the rape. I missed it a little. The chance to catch up, the special intimacy of a mother and son. In the past sometimes he would cook and serve me in my bed and then another day I'd return the favor in his room. It made me feel like we were a family. I sat up in bed, smiled at him and thanked him for the meal. The maternal feelings did not last long. It seems that while I slept I had gotten hot and somehow unbuttoned 4 buttons on my Pajama top. When I sat up my 36D breasts spilled out into the open. As I was still aroused from my dream my long pink nipples were prominently displayed to my son. I realized what had happened after he was staring at me for a couple of seconds and quickly tried to cover up.

John stopped me.

"No mom, don't hide them. Let me see. Oh my god, look at those nipples, look at them. I gotta have a taste."

John quickly bent to my chest and began slurping on my right tit for several seconds. His hands were rolling my left nipple between his thumb and forefinger, and he lightly squeezed it. The whole thing lasted around 20 seconds. The smell of my pussy filled the air. It was embarrassing.

"John... (groan) you, you have to stop. Please."

John gave me a few last baby sucks, and took a deep breath with his face buried between my breasts and slowly pulled away.

"I did it mom, see I CAN control myself. Mom, can I just do one more thing? It will only take a couple of seconds. Then I promise I'll stop."

I never got a chance to respond. He opened the final 2 buttons on my top and began licking my stomach. He then started nibbling on the nubbin of my outie belly button. His hands darted inside my bottoms and he quickly scooped several fingers worth of my sticky cum and fed it to himself.

Apparently I was finger licking good, cuz my son had a happy smile on his face as he licked his fingers clean. I still had not had a good cum, but he stopped what he was doing and sat up in bed next to me. He then pulled me into his lap. My top was completely unbuttoned but at least he was not looking directly at me. I could feel John's hard on pressing into me. It felt good. His arms wrapped around me and he firmly cupped my breasts. He did not rub them or play with my nipples. He was just holding them, almost in a friendly manner. It was clear that he was allowing me to make the next move. I didn't.

I just stayed there in my son's arms, with his hands on my tits, and his dick pressing hard into my pajama clad ass and ate my breakfast. I wanted to tell him that I was just as scared, and confused and horny as he was. I wanted to tell him that if he were any other man I'd be fucking him now like a silly little slut in heat. But he wasn't any other man, he was my son. Worse still, he was my Rapist. That wound was still there and it made it difficult for me to surrender my body to him; willingly, completely, utterly. In the back of my mind was that scene when I begged him in this very bed not to rape me, when I cried, and was humiliated by my only son. He had not cared how much he hurt me, how scared I was. He wanted my ass and he just fucking took it. As horny as I was, I did not forget, or forgive that.

So we sat there in my bed while the smell of my cunt blended with the aroma of scrambled eggs, toast and coffee. I was not able to cum, but I did not say a word as he suddenly gasped, squeezed my tits hard and began humping me. For a good 30 seconds he dry fucked me, while I pretended to watch tv. I did not help him, but I did not stop him. He finally settled down and removed his hands from my tits. He gave me a tight embrace and sighed in contentment.

I buttoned up and my son held me until I drifted off to sleep in his arms. My dream picked up right where it had left off. Once again my husband was peeling my ass open. It was ok to cum now, because Ron had every right to fuck my ass. I felt so safe and secure in my husband's arms. I felt flood after flood of cum trickle down my legs as he power fucked my ass. That night I put on my favourite black evening dress, and a pair of high heels. I don't know why, but I put on the necklace John had given me for Christmas. It felt strange to slip it on. I had never worn it. Barely looked at it, but I still knew the inscription by heart. "Susan - I love You. You are mine forever, body and soul - John."

As I came downstairs I felt a wave of deja vu, mixed with de jamis sweep over me. I knew I had been in a situation like this before. I had come down to meet a man, to display myself to him, to seek his approval at my appearance. As familiar as it felt... I was trying so hard to divorce myself from those emotions, to distance myself from prior romantic associations, that this time felt a little bit like it was the first time for me. Even though I knew I had been in this place before, I somehow felt that I never had. John looked me over with love and lust in his eyes.

"God, you look so beautiful. If you weren't my mom I'd have to kiss you right now," he said just as he had last Christmas eve. Then he reached into the crevice of my breasts and pulled out the necklace he had given me. The necklace that proclaimed his love and declared his ownership of me. How could I have been so stupid! I felt a hot blush spread over my face as he smiled in satisfaction. I had to set things straight.

"Well, I AM your mother so all you get is a kiss on the cheek." I never realized how erotic a kiss on the cheek could be. John began licking and nibbling on my cheek. It went on and on. He smelled so good, and felt so warm and hard - and we were not really kissing... I let it continue for quite a while. Finally he gave me a tight hard hug, and said it was time to go.

The Paladin Club was packed with young lovers enjoying each other. Good food, a romantic setting, and a killer jazz band - it was perfect as always. I could almost swear we had the same waiter as last time. John tipped him 40 dollars as soon as we sat down. An obsequious grin spread over his face.

"Good evening kind sir, and lovely madam. Welcome to the Paladin. My name is Jerrard. If I can service any of your needs, please instruct me. I await your pleasure. Perhaps the gentleman would care to inspect our wine list."

I did not handle wine very well. I never had. I don't know why but it always hit me hard and fast. I realized this was a big part of the mistake I had made last time. I had let John control the evening. Treated him like an adult. Responded to him like a woman, instead of as his mother. Never again.

"The Gentleman is only 16 so he will have a coke instead. Please bring me an iced tea." The waiter nodded and scurried off to do my bidding. John looked as if he had been poleaxed. That's pretty much how the evening went. I was pleasant. We had fun, but I never lost sight of the fact that I was MOM. We did not dance, or drink or squeeze each other's asses. Every attempt that he made at intimacy was immediately squashed. As the evening drew to a close I realized that whatever strange spell that my son had over me, I could fight it. As long as I did not lose control. I was so happy! It was refreshing to start getting our lives back on track. We returned home and John was very quiet.

"Mom I had a good time tonight. May I kiss you good night?" John asked in a tone that barely concealed his desire for me. Uh, uh, not again mister. I knew once John started kissing me I would be his.

"No John, I think we are going to take a break from kissing and hugging for a while. I'm not mad at you, it's just that we have got to start behaving like mother and son again."

John's eyes flashed briefly, and he started to protest. Then as he saw the determination on my face, he took a deep breath and said, "I understand mom."

I thought it was over. I thought I had my son back. I planned to start dating and to encourage him to do the same. Incredibly after all we had been through, we were going to be all right. The End...

Or so I thought. But I was wrong. God how I was wrong. For several months John and I lived as a perfectly normal mother and son. We did not hug, kiss or share breakfast in bed anymore; but for the most part we were happy. It was just after Thanksgiving, and I was looking forward to Christmas. My mother in law's death had left us pretty well set financially. Between my job, Ron's insurance policy, her will, and John's part time job - we were very comfortable. I could finally afford to get a computer. I bought an Internet ready Pentium 4. I had surfed the net a little at work. As John already had his (Fucking) Webtv, it was pretty much all mine. Like every other person on the Internet I eventually checked out a few of the adult sites. Some of them were so hot! I particularly liked the Story sites. Just the idea of thousands of people writing free sex stories, just for the fun of it. One day I was visiting the Onlinestories Site and ran across the stories of Jaz1701.

This guy was really sick. He seemed to have a twisted fascination with rape/incest stories. I found myself wondering what kind of fucked up life this loser must have had to make him fixate on rape stories. The sad thing was some of his stories were actually well written. I am ashamed to say that as I became desensitized a little to his disgusting subject matter, I sometimes found myself becoming aroused. As I read through story after story of Fathers raping daughters, Brothers blackmailing and humiliating their sisters, there was even one where a daughter raped her father! Then it happened. The name of the story was "All I Want For Christmas is My Mom's Sweet Ass... and a Webtv". As I read it I felt an eerie sense of dread begin to seep into me. This story was about a woman named Susan (Just like me), she had a son named John (just like me). Her husband had died and she hated her mother in law (me). It was surreal. I kept scrolling through the events of last Christmas. Jaz1701 knew the details of my humiliating rape. Word for fucking word.

You want to know how stupid I was? I thought John had confided in a friend and they had betrayed us both. I thought that until I saw his e-mail address. In all of his previous stories it was Jaz1701@hotmail.com. This time though he changed it to Jaz1701@webtv.net. Web-Fucking-tv. There was no getting around it. Only one person knew the details of my rape, AND owned a(fucking) Webtv.

Jaz1701... is my son, John. I felt like someone had kicked me in the side of the head. Why would he do this? How could he betray me again? Raping me wasn't enough? He had to tell the world about it. I had to learn more. I took the next day off from work. When John went to school, I tried to break into his (fucking) Webtv. It wasn't hard. The son of a bitch's password was "RAPE". I looked in his mail box and found dozens of e-mails from his Readers. Some were about my story. Here's a few word for word.

"Jaz you sure showed your slutty mom who was boss. Send some pics dude."

AND

"Jaz what an insightful and enchanting modern day fairy tale. I particularly enjoyed the skewed juxtaposition of the mother/son dynamic and the subtle judeo/christian battle for supremacy. Kudos and excelsior!"

FINALLY

"Jaz you are sick, and will burn forever in the fiery pit of Gehenna, there will be the weeping and gnashing of your teeth. Repent Sinner. I was patrolling all of these devil inspired adult sites and praying for the chance to save a soul. I have read all of your stories and must say they are filthy. Do you have any more? Please send pics of your mom so my parishioners can pray for her. Amen."

The more I read, the angrier I got. My son did not love me. He had been living a lie for the past year. He was not the least bit sorry for what he did to me. To the contrary, he revelled in it. My fear, shock, confusion, outrage, humiliation were intoxicating to him. He loved hearing me lose control, begging and sobbing for mercy, mercy that he would never give.

For the first time I was able to read how my son really felt about me. I was not his mother, not even a woman. I was a pair of big tits, a juicy ass and a warm wet cunt. Just a silly little whore for him to stick his fat cock into. My rape was no accident. It was not the chance result of too much wine, and a flare-up of hormonal lust. No it was a calculated seduction, a planned attack. As I read through e-mail after e-mail, as I visited his saved favourites, I realized that Jaz1701 was a very sick individual. He clearly needed help from medical professionals. He wasn't going to get it from me.

As I sat in front of his (fucking) Webtv a story idea worthy of Jaz1701 began to form. Jaz liked clever little rape stories, so I was going to make him the star of one. He wrote chapter 1 of "All I want for Christmas..." I would write Chapter 2. Whenever he was out of the house I would sign on to HIS e-mail and write this story. I saved it in his deleted mail under the title "You can make money on the Internet." I figured even if he checked his deleted mail he would not look at a piece of spam like that.

My plan is pretty simple. I am going to get my son drunk/drugged, and horny. I'll let him think he can have another piece of my sweet ass. Then I'll tie him up. Humiliate him, take Polaroids and distribute them to his school. Finally I purchased a 10 inch dildo and when he was tied down, drunk, drugged, crying and helpless I planned to fuck my son up his hairy ass till he bled.

Merry fucking Christmas you he-bitch!

Best of all I would post the story to all of his favorite filthy sites. That's right Onlinestories, Kristen, Mr. Double I mean YOU. I hold you partially responsible.

Christmas Eve had come and the egg nog was flowing freely. We had both received invitations to friends and distant families parties, but had declined them all. We wanted Christmas to be special and very private this year. I pretended to get a little drunk and stumbled into John. "Whoa mom, I got you, you ok?

"Thanks baby, you are getting so tall and strong," I said as I reached up and felt my son's powerful arms.

I leaned into him and my nips of my breasts brushed along his chest. That's all it took and he was hard. He locked his arms around my waist and softly moved his crotch against mine. He bent down and kissed me for the first time since Valentine's day. Suddenly he picked me up by the waist of my jeans and I was dangling 3 inches off the ground. The jean material was chaffing snug and hard against my pussy and for a minute I forgot my plan. I was sucking on my son's tongue for all I was worth. He was breathing hard and swinging me from side to side in the air. He backed me up against the kitchen table and sat me down on it.

"I have waited a long time for this. No more fooling around mom. You are going to fuck me willingly tonight. I. Want. Your pussy. Tonight. Are you going to give yourself to me mom. Can I do anything I want?"

"Yes, yes damnit I tried to do the right thing but... I can't deny it any longer. I love you and I am yours forever body and soul. I... think we both could use a drink."

John smiled as I went to the fridge and got out the container of spiked egg nog I had prepared earlier. I had crushed 8 valiums and used 130 proof liquor in John's drink. I sipped on my non alcoholic nog and said, "Bottoms up lover. Here is to a wonderful and sexy night."

John finished his drink in two gulps. He then closed the distance between us and said, "I am going to take you to my room and fuck you in a minute but first, I want to see you naked. Now. I am going to spread you out on this table and eat your cunt out. Take your clothes off, mom."

This was happening too fast. The drugs needed time to work. He was a large man, it could be several minutes before they took full effect. I had no choice. I slowly stripped for my son. I felt the panic surge up in me as he roughly laid me on my back and spread me out on our kitchen table. He then pulled my legs apart and shoved his face deep in my steaming cunt. John licked and sucked and gnawed on me like a mad man. I felt a monster orgasm building when he said, "I need your ass, mom. Get up on all fours and hold it wide open for me."

My hands were shaking as I got on my knees and hands on the wobbly table and reached back to obey. His hands began playing in my ass. He made little circles around my anus and slowly sunk his pinkie in me. I could feel it wiggling around inside of me. My butt muscles clenched on it involuntarily. Then he put his thumb in my ass, and his forefinger in my pussy, and made his fingertips touch. It was too much. It felt like I was being fucked by two tiny, wiggling dicks and I felt pussy juice begin to drip down my leg. Soon it was a stream and I heard John lapping it up. His tongue moved from my thighs to my asshole and he told me to raise my ass higher. I was on all fours, I had my ass high in the air, and was holding my butt-cheeks wide apart so my son could eat my ass out. His tongue was sliding into my little hole and I felt his saliva and drool filling my ass. He rubbed my cheeks together and the slippery, lubricated feeling was quite intense. He rubbed and squeezed and massaged my slippery wet, drool filled ass for several minutes. It was hot, and nasty and out of control. To be honest, a part of me loved it. A small part of me loved how wild I could make my handsome teenage son.

Beneath the surface, below the radar of morality and right vs. wrong; I was still a hot sexual women. There was a gut level, animal response that my son seemed to trigger in me. It would be easy to deny it, to fool myself into believing I did not have such disgusting impulses. But not today. John had awoken this side of me; today and neither of us would be allowed to hide.

"John... I think it's time we went upstairs. John! Stop! You are not fucking my ass on the kitchen table. If you insist on doing this, you WILL do it in bed like a gentleman. Is that clear!" I screamed as John was lining his dick up to fuck me silly. To fuck me into submission.

Without a word he stopped. He reached down and picked me up. His right hand supported and fondled my ass as he carried me up the stairs to his bed. John banged into the side of his doorway as we entered and tripped. We both landed hard on his bed. He seemed dazed and confused. I noticed that his erection was gone. The drugs were working. I decided to test how well.

"I'm ready for you, John. You may fuck me as long and as hard as you want. I am your property. Please master, fuck my ass. I made you wait for a whole year. Discipline me, daddy. Baby needs your hard beef meat shoved up her ass. Please Jaz, rape me like the dirty little slut I am. I deserve whatever you decide to do to me. It will make a great story."

"Whu, huh? Jaz, yousaidJaz!" John slurred as he slowly passed out on his bed; and left himself at my mercy, mercy that would never come.

I went to work quickly. I dressed myself and then removed the rest of his clothes. I fastened his arms over his head with two leather straps and laid him on his back. I then ran to my room and got my humiliation bag that I had packed the night before. I slid a pair of my tightest, silk pink bikini thong panties on my son. I could not help but laugh at how funny they looked on him. His thick slab of cock was peeking out the sides and his hairy balls made a delicious bulge. Of course no proper young lady would wear panties without a matching bra. After I snapped the pink lace bra closed, I got out the curly blonde slut-wig and please-fuckme-candy apple red lipstick. As I took picture after picture of my pretty little rapist I was giggling like a loon. These pictures were going up at John's school, our church; they would show up in the football locker room; I would make his life a living hell. Every thing was almost perfect but there was one more shot I needed. I pulled out the neon pink, double tipped dildo. I strapped on the stabilizing harness and inserted one end into myself. I debated about using some lubrication on John but decided against it. I manually rammed the other end in his ass. I shot 5 or 6 polaroids before I began to fuck him in earnest. The first time I slammed my pussy down on my end of the dildo, he woke up.

"Arrrgh! WHHHas hapning? Oww mom, what the fuck are you doing bitch? Get off me, ow! Please mom, you are raping me, it hurts, please stop god it hurtssz!" My half drunk, bra wearing son screamed in despair and pain. I loved it.

"Mmm baby, momma loves your tight ass. I want to see your virgin blood Johnny. Cmon little Jaz, you know you love this thick dick up your butt. You are just so cute mommy couldn't help herself. You understand, don't you lover. Oh baby, your dad would be so proud if he could see what a precious little buttercup angel you turned out to be. He probably would have fucked a hot little man-whore like you himself. That's it scream for me, go ahead and cry; let it all out for mommy. Don't be embarrassed little Jaz, mama still loves you," I said as I raped my Rapist's ass. Wet sloshing sounds were coming from his ass, and I could finally see a pinkish brown sludge oozing from his butt. I reached over and got the Polaroid. When I pulled the dildo out John's end was covered in blood and shit. His anus was a gaping hole. I took a couple of shots and then could not resist sticking 3 fingers inside of his ass. John began screaming and bucking wildly on the bed. So I added another finger. And a thumb. As I fisted my rapist and scratched the inside of his ass I could not help laughing at how things had changed. In the course of a year I had gone from a loving mother, to a rape victim. I forgave my son, found out he was a sick rape writer, and became a rapist myself. I wondered what the year 2,000 would bring. I looked at the clock on the nightstand, it was 12am - Christmas!

"John look, it's Christmas. We can go downstairs in a few minutes and open our presents. But first I want you to sing some Christmas carols with me."

John did not want to do it at first... but it seems I had the upper (or is it lower?) hand, and managed to convince him. With my fist in his tight, slutty, sweaty, stinky ass we sang together loud and long...

"I'm dreaming of a white, Christmas..."

EPILOGUE

John is a changed man. He was so cute crying and begging me not to show those pictures to anyone who knew him. I made him use that talented tongue of his to give my pussy some relief. After I was satisfied I told him I would consider keeping the photos semi-private as long as he behaved himself. I did insist on distributing his pics on the internet but agreed not to use his real name. A few of my friends might get a good laugh out of them... but I have not decided if I should show them or not.

The best thing to come out of this is that I think John respects me again. He knows that no matter how strong he is, he is just a valium and a dildo away from getting raped. I am typing this on his (fucking) Webtv Jaz1701 account and will submit it to onlinestories tonight. I can't wait till he sees the story and starts getting mail about his rape! Please feel free to ask HIM for all the pics you want.

See Ya,

Susan, Jaz1701's mom.

Merry Christmas 1999

What about the surging nature of the propuslion? (4, Funny)

Kaenneth (82978) | more than 6 years ago | (#20691867)

An WHUMP Orion WHUMP based WHUMP drive WHUMP can WHUMP be a WHUMP bit WHUMP rough, WHUMP any WHUMP study WHUMP on the WHUMP effects WHUMP on cargo/passWHUMPengers?

Re:What about the surging nature of the propuslion (4, Informative)

Arabani (1127547) | more than 6 years ago | (#20692001)

The original studies performed extensive studies on this problem. They solved it with a double shock absorber system; by tuning the absorbers and the frequency at which bombs were ejected, they could achieve a constant acceleration of 1-2 g.

Re:What about the surging nature of the propuslion (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20692837)

Oh you're no fun.
WHUMP ! WHUMP ! Giggle!

Have you ever driven with someone learning clutch? (1)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 6 years ago | (#20692749)

It's like that, just for a few million miles.

Bring some asprin.

What about manned? (2, Interesting)

Tanman (90298) | more than 6 years ago | (#20691873)

speeding up via riding the wave of successive explosions is great for an unmanned craft. For a manned craft, though, I have a couple questions:

1. How will people deal with the psychological effect of the never-ending pounding brought by this type of propulsion?

2. Will scientists avoid this issue by instead strapping people into some kind of suspension and using a fewer number of larger explosions to get up-to-speed per day?

3. What effect would that have on a person physically? We know people can take X G's, but what about being subjected to constant hits like that. If they are stronger, it could have some as-yet unforseen effect on our physiology.

Re:What about manned? (4, Insightful)

flyingfsck (986395) | more than 6 years ago | (#20692033)

How do deal with all those explosions in your car engine?

Re:What about manned? (0)

Tanman (90298) | more than 6 years ago | (#20692055)

If you can't tell the difference between explosions contained in an internal combustion engine to power the drive shaft vs. being moved forward by the actual explosions, then I can't help you.

Re:What about manned? (3, Insightful)

sssssss27 (1117705) | more than 6 years ago | (#20692163)

What's the difference? An internal combustion engine is coupled directly from the explosion all the way to the road, well at least in a manual car. The reason you don't feel each explosion though is that instead of using one big one there are thousands of tiny ones so it seems like a smooth motion.

Re:What about manned? (3, Informative)

Duhavid (677874) | more than 6 years ago | (#20692271)

There is also the flywheel, which dampens the effect of each combustion event.

Also, it is not an explosion, but rapid combustion.

Further, the magnitude of the events is quite different
( in a car engine, the events are relatively small,
    on orion, well, bigger ).

Re:What about manned? (2, Informative)

zippthorne (748122) | more than 6 years ago | (#20692699)

"Dampen" doesn't mean what you think it means. Or rather, it wouldn't if people would stop adding superfluous letters to seem more intelligent.

The word is damp. The infinitive is "to damp" and a device which damps is a damper. There's no need for the extra -en unless you want to have a confusing half-synonym for moisten.

On an orion, the pusher plate is connected to the main spacecraft body by shock absorbers. Quite similar to a gun recoil mechanism, I imagine, except that for manned flight it would spread the impulse out over a much longer time period. Timed just right, occupants of a habitat at the top of the structure would experience constant acceleration.

The main problem with Orion is that it doesn't solve a problem that exists. It has less Isp than some of the better electric propulsion options, and huge structure requirements. It is high thrust, high Isp, so it's main use would be getting off the planet, but its nature contraindicates ever being used within the atmosphere.

Re:What about manned? (1)

Duhavid (677874) | more than 6 years ago | (#20692805)

According to dictionary.com, the first reference on "dampen"
is to moisten. The secondary one is "to dull, deaden, depress,
restrain". I thought it was pretty obvious that that is the
one I meant, but I can see that there is another meaning.
Thank you for the correction.

On Orion, yes, I knew that there would be shock absorbers,
spreading the impulse out, but there will still be a huge
difference in timing, magnitude, and direction between
an infernal combustion engine and an Orion.

Re:What about manned? (1)

Daniel Dvorkin (106857) | more than 6 years ago | (#20692181)

If you can't tell the difference between explosions contained in an internal combustion engine to power the drive shaft vs. being moved forward by the actual explosions, then I can't help you.

You're missing the point. The explosions in your car happen very very fast, and the bulk of the vehicle absorbs most of the shock; with the combination of these two effects, you don't perceive them as explosions. Ditto for an Orion drive. As an intermediate case, consider a pulsejet, which is "moved forward by the actual explosions" in much the same way. Pulsejets were incredibly unpleasant to fly, but that had more to do with the engine being mounted near the pilot than with the propulsion technology itself -- and of course you wouldn't mount an Orion drive right next to a human crew anyway, or they'd have a lot worse things than vibration to worry about.

Re:What about manned? (5, Interesting)

modecx (130548) | more than 6 years ago | (#20692549)

Isn't it kinda sad that people on a site which is supposedly for nerds can't naturally grasp the idea of waves, pulse-width, modulation, duty cycle, and psychophysical thresholds?

Exactly what kind of nerds are they cranking out these days?

Re:What about manned? (5, Funny)

PitaBred (632671) | more than 6 years ago | (#20692889)

It's now more popular to be a nerd, rather than just a state of being for people who are truly drawn to it, so you start getting a lot of wannabe's who can't hack it intellectually, but are still drawn to the "lifestyle", or more the perks of being known as a nerd. For example, look at Apple users ;)

Re:What about manned? (2, Informative)

DigiShaman (671371) | more than 6 years ago | (#20692225)

A four, six, and eight cylinder engine will have their pistons out of phase from each other as to provide a continuous and smooth power curve. Now compare that with a single piston engine (lawn mower, weed eater...etc) and take notice of the excessive vibration. Even though the crank shaft has counter weights, it's the interleaving of the detonations (and flywheel) that provides smooth motion.

Re:What about manned? (1)

Archades54 (925582) | more than 6 years ago | (#20692787)

I guess the way females deal with sitting on washing machines.....by having a blast.

Re:What about manned? (3, Informative)

Fox_1 (128616) | more than 6 years ago | (#20692089)

1. lot of explosions in a car engine, and we're all mostly still sane. Seriously though they are small contained explosions (couple grams of material) that vent plasma, there is no reason why people in the passenger compartment would even be aware of each individual explosion. The point is that these are nuclear weapon sized explosions, but many smaller ones providing relatively constant thrust. It won't be jerky.

2. I don't know if you understand how acceleration works. But Fewer larger explosions would make for a rougher ride. And you don't get up to speed on a day to day basis, that would be a weird way to fly a space craft.

3. 1 g constant acceleration for a few hours is pretty freaking fast. This engine could do the thrust of the space shuttle - which is more then 1 g, but why would you do 12 g for more then a few minutes?
If you do 1g acceleration for a full day you are going about After 1 day, you are going 800,000 m/s - 800km/sec or 288,000 km/hour mars is about 78million km away - so you can see how this is going, if you stop accelerating at this speed it's about a 4 or 5 million km a day just coasting, or 20 or so days to get there. So it's silly to do more then 1g acceleration, unless you are leaving a planets surface and need to reach escape velocity. So no worries about weird physical effects from the acceleration - now long term zero g is a whole'nother type of problem, but again no need to make it a long trip with this kind of power.

Re:What about manned? (4, Funny)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 6 years ago | (#20692213)

1. How will people deal with the psychological effect of the never-ending pounding brought by this type of propulsion?

Explains...why...Kirk...talked...like...this. The...future...is...here.
       

Re:What about manned? (1)

astrotek (132325) | more than 6 years ago | (#20692673)

thanks for the laugh

Re:What about manned? (1)

Jeff DeMaagd (2015) | more than 6 years ago | (#20692277)

The linked article page is not coming up, but I think nuclear is being proposed to use nuclear fuels to superheat gasses for propulsion, so it could be a constant burn and not a series of explosions. At least it's not going to behave like a series of a-bombs, that's stupid.

Re:What about manned? (4, Informative)

Grond (15515) | more than 6 years ago | (#20692361)

The full press release notes that the maximum acceleration would be a mere .6 G's or so, which is more than Mars but obviously less than Earth. This is unlikely to result in any unknown physiological changes. In fact, the at least occasional exposure to g-forces would probably be beneficial compared to continuous micro-gravity.

Anyway, a 100 metric ton craft would be pretty wimpy. That's 5% of the Space Shuttle's mass, for instance. I suspect this would be an unmanned mission. (For reference, the Apollo Service Module & Lunar Module together were about 40 metric tons and the longest Apollo missions only lasted 12 days).

Also, the 'ignition mass' for the fastest version would be a whopping 1300 metric tons of plutonium. Using uranium prices as a stand-in, that's about $300 million in fuel. That's an awful big price tag for just getting a larger probe to Mars faster.

Re:What about manned? (1)

a_nonamiss (743253) | more than 6 years ago | (#20692721)

Should we be worried that you seem to know so much about the price of Plutonium? ;)

Re:What about manned? (3, Funny)

fyoder (857358) | more than 6 years ago | (#20692381)

I think many of your concerns would be addressed by the addition of an inertial compensator [wikipedia.org] . As the wikipedia article points out, this may not fully protect against sudden shocks. It also seems less effective on people suffering from HPD (hamminess personality disorder), who may be thrown about much more violently than people less drama prone.

Like stepping on the gas to get to Wyoming... (2, Funny)

patio11 (857072) | more than 6 years ago | (#20691913)

... this just means you get to nowhere faster.

(Sorry, reflexive poke at Wyoming. Wyoming has wonderful people, natural resources, and breathable atmosphere. Mars is 0 for 3. Jupiter doesn't even have a surface to land on, but now we can hurry up to get there and not land on it! Like the robot we're sending had some place it would rather be for the marginal time...)

Re:Like stepping on the gas to get to Wyoming... (2, Informative)

thatskinnyguy (1129515) | more than 6 years ago | (#20692037)

Ummm Jupiter may have a surface [wikipedia.org] to land on.

Re:Like stepping on the gas to get to Wyoming... (1)

Khyber (864651) | more than 6 years ago | (#20692427)

We would be crushed by Jupiter's gravity, or eaten by the acid-laden atmosphere. We're better off aiming for one of the moons, instead.

Re:Like stepping on the gas to get to Wyoming... (1)

thatskinnyguy (1129515) | more than 6 years ago | (#20692459)

Still there may be a surface to land on... should we overcome the obstacles of getting there.

Re:Like stepping on the gas to get to Wyoming... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20692291)

Oh come on, you know perfectly well that the moon of jupiter are the only reason we'd send people there at this point. And if you didn't know that you lose you geek card. Oh, and (gasp) they even have a surface to land on! As far as main propulsion goes, going from the earth to jupiter and going from the earth to jupiter's moons are exactly the same.

Wham! (1)

CBob (722532) | more than 6 years ago | (#20691931)

WHAM! WHAM! WHAM!

God was knocking & he wanted in bad.... (Footfall I think) .1c, not too bad, I'll take 4 of em.

Be about 70 years (if ever) before it gets off paper tho :-( NASA and innovate are 2 things that aren't going to happen anytime soon.

Re:Wham! (1)

camperdave (969942) | more than 6 years ago | (#20692307)

Yes, it was Footfall. For those who missed it, Footfall is a Larry Niven, Jerry Pournelle collaboration about an alien takeover of Earth, and our eventually overthrowing of them. Humans built an orion based ship to launch a number of weapon carriers at the Fithp ships.

Re:Wham! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20692385)

First thing I did in this thread was search for Niven.

Footfall was my first Niven book, and shortly thereafter I had read them all. And I went back to Footfall again.

Glad to see I'm not alone in this community.

Too bad Seattle had to go to her her into orbit.

Hey, my captcha was "environ", i.e. Orion ships might be unhealthy for the environ...ment...

Re:Wham! (1)

Chibi Merrow (226057) | more than 6 years ago | (#20692685)

Man glad to know I'm not the only person who's read that book... And it was my first thought, too.

Looking at the proposed propulsion method (and how all the bad stuff is contained) makes me wonder how you'll use the explosions to power your gamma ray lasers, though...

Pics (4, Funny)

StikyPad (445176) | more than 6 years ago | (#20691935)

Here's a few pics of the Mini-Mag [maglite.com] in action. Looks vaguely familiar... Interesting how the cargo capsule seems to release from one end and dock at the other. Very intriguing.

Hmm... (1)

wtfbbq (1097721) | more than 6 years ago | (#20691943)

Something about a nuclear powered space ship blowing up in the upper atmosphere on take-off/landing just doesn't seem appealing to me...wonder why?

Re:Hmm... (1)

tetrahedrassface (675645) | more than 6 years ago | (#20691999)

Well if you aren't the type of person that doesn't like hair loss, nausea, leukemia, or spinal cancer then I guess you just .

Not like old Orion (2, Interesting)

StefanJ (88986) | more than 6 years ago | (#20692009)

This one is going to be built in orbit. It will never take off or land.

OTOH, the "fuel" pellets are going to be made of fissionable materials. I hope they point the nozzle in a direction that doesn't result in un-detonated bomblets burning up in the atmosphere.

Re:Not like old Orion (1)

Gothmolly (148874) | more than 6 years ago | (#20692111)

You do realize that burning coal has put more Uranium into the air than all the atomic explosions combined right?

Re:Not like old Orion (4, Informative)

Ungrounded Lightning (62228) | more than 6 years ago | (#20692333)

You do realize that burning coal has put more Uranium into the air than all the atomic explosions combined right?

I'm more worried about Strontium 90 and radioactive iodine.

Given that Hanford deliberately released a BUNCH of radioactive iodine upwind of an indian reservation at least partly to see what its effects would be on the "marginal population" of indians and rednecks downwind (leading to a considerable increase in birth defect constelations and graves' disease), I suspect others are with me on that.

WoW! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20691969)

It's a MMO!

(sorry)

Bulk??? (2, Interesting)

Goonie (8651) | more than 6 years ago | (#20691973)

If their gadget for doing the z-pinch thingy is anything like the Z machine [wikipedia.org] at Sandia you won't be putting it on a spacecraft any time soon...

So let me get this straight... (1)

FSWKU (551325) | more than 6 years ago | (#20691985)

It's an MMO, but how are they gonna deal with the latency between here and Mars? Better yet, what kind of hardware is the server running, and how much RAM will the client require? How do they plan to get past the annoyance of level-grinding?

The best part of the mini-mag design (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20691987)

If you unscrew the cap in the stern of the spacecraft, you will find a spare nuclear reactor behind the battery terminal.

Reduces travel time how? (5, Interesting)

Cousarr (1117563) | more than 6 years ago | (#20691997)

First off, I am not a rocket scientist, but I am studying for a BS in Aerospace Engineering.

How exactly is this supposed to reduce travel time? Current lengths of travel are not due to a lack of available thrust or due to amount of fuel available but rather the path taken to reach the destination. Currently in order to travel to say Mars Hohman transfers [wikipedia.org] are often used. These paths and others like them take a certain amount of time to complete, and stronger engines or more available Delta-V allow only for more instantaneous entrances of the transfers or more allowed change in course once at the ship's destination.

In order to reduce time traveled a different orbital mechanic is needed. Even if a ship were to travel in a straight line toward a destination at a rapid enough speed that it would not have to meet up with it too much further along in its orbit it would have to be able to kill relative speed quickly enough to enter a capture orbit.

Anyone know what orbital transfer method they're saying that this engine makes possible?

Re:Reduces travel time how? (1)

ArcherB (796902) | more than 6 years ago | (#20692133)

n order to reduce time traveled a different orbital mechanic is needed. Even if a ship were to travel in a straight line toward a destination at a rapid enough speed that it would not have to meet up with it too much further along in its orbit it would have to be able to kill relative speed quickly enough to enter a capture orbit.

My guess is that it turns around about half way during the trip to start slowing down.

Re:Reduces travel time how? (3, Interesting)

Nefarious Wheel (628136) | more than 6 years ago | (#20692285)

My guess is that it turns around about half way during the trip to start slowing down.

Wouldn't necessarily be half way, we're not talking linear vectors are we? If we're playing catch-up with a planetary target the crossover point might be a bit later than km/2. It's more expensive to escape the closer you are to the sun's gravity well, but I'd think a lot of the energy would be soaked relative to the velocity of the target, i.e. there may not be as much energy to dump near the target. Space ain't flat, found that out from my office mate who was doing the orbital geometry for Pioneer Venus 12/13 some years back (which had the inverse effect, being inward from EO).

I don't know why he kept a separate set of comps in furlongs per fortnight, but us programmerz was wierd back then.

Re:Reduces travel time how? (5, Interesting)

StefanJ (88986) | more than 6 years ago | (#20692161)

As I recall, Hohman orbits are nice ellipses with body A at perisol and body B and aposol. You make a burn to get into it and out of it; the delta-v required is the difference in velocity between a body in a "circular" orbit at that radius and the velocity of a body in the elliptical orbit. If the planet happens to be at that point, you then just need to make another burn to get into orbit. Timing is important.

Even Hohman orbits are too "spendy" for chemically fueled rockets. Thus the complex back-and-forth gravity-assist paths that NASA probes take on the way to the outer planets, and the use of aerobreaking by Mars probes.

Other, faster transfers are possible. You just enter another sort of elliptical orbit whose path intersects earth's orbit when you leave it, and the destination planet's orbit at a time when the planet will be there. Of course, you have to have a spaceship capable of the much greater change in velocity to enter these orbits.

The linked-too documents suggest that the "mini mag" is not only fuel efficient (read: high Isp), but has a decent amount of thrust. This means it CAN make the drastic changes in velocity necessary.

Transfer orbit (5, Funny)

Kadin2048 (468275) | more than 6 years ago | (#20692175)

I believe they are using the "Journalist Transfer Orbit." This is a highly specialized piece of orbital mechanics: basically, you take the average distance to the destination as given by Wikipedia and divide by the spacecraft's top speed.

Re:Reduces travel time how? (1)

pintpusher (854001) | more than 6 years ago | (#20692195)

BS in Aerospace Engineering.
ya know, it seems like a lot of these space articles are pretty much just that: BS in Aerospace Engineering.

Re:Reduces travel time how? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20692201)

From Wikipedia:

"So journeys to the nearest planets, Mars and Venus, use a Hohmann transfer orbit, an elliptical path which starts as a tangent to one planet's orbit round the sun and finishes as a tangent to the other's. This method uses very nearly the smallest possible amount of fuel, but is very slow - it can take over a year to travel from Earth to Mars (fuzzy orbits use even less fuel, but are even slower)."

What they are saying is this engine is so much more efficient, fuel is not an issue that it is for current rockets, therefore it can boost long enough to reach much higher speeds: From the article:

"The spacecraft itself will only have to carry a relatively small amount of fissionable material as fuel and will be able to reach speeds of approximately 10% of the speed of light,".
Current technology can't carry enough fuel to come anywhere NEAR that speed. That type of speed/efficiencies which allows a more like a brute force direct path. Read more of the links on Wikipedia, they talk about it further. Interesting stuff.

Re:Reduces travel time how? (1)

Daniel Dvorkin (106857) | more than 6 years ago | (#20692207)

Hohman transfers are slow and cheap; that's why we use them. If you have a much more energy-dense fuel supply (plutonium certainly fills the bill) there are much faster routes available.

Re:Reduces travel time how? (2, Informative)

king-manic (409855) | more than 6 years ago | (#20692647)

Hohman transfers are slow and cheap; that's why we use them. If you have a much more energy-dense fuel supply (plutonium certainly fills the bill) there are much faster routes available.

I prefer a holtzman Transfer. Get there in 0.01s. Only bad thing is no one knows how it works except god and Holtzmans wife. And God help you if you bring a laser pointer.

Re:Reduces travel time how? (1)

camperdave (969942) | more than 6 years ago | (#20692725)

Current lengths of travel are not due to a lack of available thrust or due to amount of fuel available but rather the path taken to reach the destination.

Of course they are. The available thrust determines the path taken. Basically, the transfer orbit is an elliptical orbit that touches both the inner (in this case Earth's) orbit, and the outer (Mars') orbit. There is a burn at the start, to kick the craft into the transfer orbit, and a burn at the end, to knock the craft out of the transfer orbit. If you change the thrust, you change the minor axis of the ellipse, which affects transit time.

Note though, that the craft is unpowered during the majority of it's flight. In other words, it has a ballistic trajectory. If the craft is powered, it can take a more direct path. Think of it this way, I could lob a rock at a target with a catapult, and the rock would follow a ballistic path to the target. It would take a certain amount of time to get there. Alternatively, I could fire a missile at the target. Because the the missile is under power, it would take a different path than the rock, and would arrive at the target much faster. Similarly, an continually powered rocket can take a much different path than a Homann transfer. Perhaps the path is a cardioid [wikipedia.org] or some type of spiral.

Re:Reduces travel time how? (1)

zippthorne (748122) | more than 6 years ago | (#20692841)

Ask your professor about a "chase maneuver." that should get you on the right track.

Hohman Transfers are nice because they are minimum energy transfers (and not necessarily that if you've got more than two bodies and a lot of patience) if you've got a high-thrust impulse engine. (as in, it's only capable of short bursts of high thrusts. compare to continuous thrust options as seen in Deep Space 1.)

They are by no means the minimum time transfer if you've got Delta-V to spare.

fissionable material? (1)

stox (131684) | more than 6 years ago | (#20692007)

All sorts of nasty crap will be blowing out the tail end of this puppy. Wasn't this predicted in Space 1999 with the Queller Drive?

Also Homer Simpson is the Safety Inspector for the (1, Funny)

Joe The Dragon (967727) | more than 6 years ago | (#20692023)

Also Homer Simpson is the Safety Inspector for the nuclear parts of the project. He was picked for his Astronaut for NASA and nuclear technician / nuclear Safety job experience.

Re:Also Homer Simpson is the Safety Inspector for (1)

darkonc (47285) | more than 6 years ago | (#20692283)

Perhaps we can re-activate George Bush's commission and make him a test pilot?

Footfall (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20692061)

Niven and Pournelle.

Slashdotted? (2, Funny)

barakn (641218) | more than 6 years ago | (#20692101)

These people are visionaries, except when it comes to anticipating large server loads.

Re:Slashdotted? (2, Funny)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 6 years ago | (#20692155)

These people are visionaries, except when it comes to anticipating large server loads.

Indeed. The ship will reach Jupiter before the damned bytes get to me from their server. Discrimination! Guess I'll go off my diet to compete with Jupiter.
   

Jup in a Year (4, Informative)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 6 years ago | (#20692113)

and enable future spaceships to reach Jupiter after one year of space traveling.

The New Horizons probe, heading to Pluto, took slightly more than a year to reach Jupiter. However, there was no need to stop (park in orbit) and it didn't need to carry bulky life-support stuff. Thus, it could take the fast train.
       

Blog troll. Link to real info here. (5, Informative)

Animats (122034) | more than 6 years ago | (#20692237)

First, this is a blog troll, to drive traffic to some ".info" site. The actual paper, "Proposed Follow-on Mini-Mag Orion Pulsed Propulsion Concept" [aiaa.org] presented at an AIAA conference last year, is more useful.

The basic idea is to create a small fission (not fusion) explosion using magnetic compression. Nuclear weapons use chemical explosives to create an implosion, and during the implosion the fissionable material is compressed hard enough to get a 1.5x to (maybe) 2x density increase. With magnetic compression, a small pellet can be compressed hard enough to get a 10x density increase. This allows smaller explosions, around 50 gigajoules instead of the 20 terajoules of a fission bomb. They want to use curium or californium as the fuel, rather than plutonium.

They also want to use magnetic containment, rather than an Orion-style "pusher plate" sprayed with oil. Unclear if that can be made to work.

The experimental work (they compressed an aluminum cylinder with a big magnet at Sandia) was done back in 2002. This isn't really under active development.

It's not a totally unreasonable idea, but it would be a huge job to make it work. For one thing, the plan is to assemble a large spacecraft in orbit, not to take off from Earth. It doesn't help with the problem of putting mass in orbit.

Re:Blog troll. Link to real info here. (4, Informative)

Ungrounded Lightning (62228) | more than 6 years ago | (#20692393)

They also want to use magnetic containment, rather than an Orion-style "pusher plate" sprayed with oil. Unclear if that can be made to work.

Ought to be a cake-walk once they've got the field in place to make it go "bang".

The pellet is ALREADY confined in a mag field. The re-expanding plasma from the explosion dumps much of its energy into compressing the field between the plasma and the conductor that created it, making the field stronger (and dumping a bunch of the energy back into the conductor as electricity for potential reuse or consumption).

Should be easy to create a selective leak in the desired direction and more fields to guide the plasma as it makes its getaway. (In fact the compressed field toward the vehicle can be used as a spring to return some of that collected energy to the plasma, further increasing the exhaust velocity. And/or the energy from the compressed field could be used to create or strengthen the "nozzle" guiding fields, just-in-time to guide the burst of plasma.)

Lots of opportunity for cute electric/magnetic/plasma engineering tricks here.

And unlike fusion the time scale, from ignition to completion of the exhaust cycle, is short, so plasma instabilities aren't an issue.

Magnetic Onion? (1)

Chrondeath (757612) | more than 6 years ago | (#20692463)

Anyone else read that as "Miniature Magnetic Onion"?

This isn't fit for the Federation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20692479)

I was really excited about this until I clicked on the article and found out it only goes .1 warp speed. That's not even half impulse.

Maybe next time.

Andrews Space (3, Informative)

sabre86 (730704) | more than 6 years ago | (#20692683)

The company behind the technology is Andrews Space at this site [andrews-space.com] .

From my (admitted limited) viewpoint as an (inexperienced) aerospace engineer, they look like the real thing.

The system is actually described in a 2003 AIAA conference paper linked on this page [andrews-space.com] . The paper is titled "Mini-MagOrion: A Pulsed Nuclear Rocket for Crewed Solar System Exploration [andrews-space.com] ."

I've only glanced over the article so far, but it suggests specific impulses in the 10,000 seconds plus range. That's a critical measure of efficiency in a rocket that dictates the velocity it can obtain. The shuttle's SSMEs get about 455 seconds of specific impulse at a high thrust (millions of Newtons) and ion drives, like the one on the DS1 probe, and the like get specific impulses (Isp) of about 3000 seconds at low thrust. (millinewtons). Apparently the Mini-Mag Orion can produce thrust on par with the SSME. Yikes.

--sabre86

Reminds me of... (3, Funny)

madbawa (929673) | more than 6 years ago | (#20692705)

...Calculus!! I think it was Destination Moon or Explorers on the Moon (Adventures of Tintin). He had a nuclear powered rocket then. Bah!

What's the point? (1)

Jartan (219704) | more than 6 years ago | (#20692799)

We keep hearing about all these great technologies that will whiz us around the solar system but none of them are going to be of much use. Anything remotely nuclear is probably not going to be allowed to opperate in atmosphere. The military might be allowed to make and man such vehicles but I doubt I'll be booking a trip to the moon on such a thing.

So as usual until we get some serious work put into cheap methods to get out of the gravity well nobody is going to have any real dreams fulfilled. Maybe some people think it's enough for scientists to get info out of it but even for someone very pro science like me that doesn't cut it at all. Not even close.

Scam Alert!!! (0)

YetAnotherBob (988800) | more than 6 years ago | (#20692803)

from the Article, It's non-nuclear, uses explosives, magnetic field nozzle. Claims 50% more efficient than Space Shuttle engines. Starship drive. Think about that for a moment. They are claiming better Isp than a hydrogen/oxygen engine using solid explosives, and proposing a chemically powered starship. They don't have a working model, or even a real process yet. Using explosives will result in relatively massive exhaust particles, meaning low Isp. I'd like to see how their physics works out. Seems like a rocket version of perpetual motion to me. Apparently they got a little NASA money, so they must know a congressman. But, I can see no way they can deliver on these promises.

The pic in TFA looks like (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20692813)

a bundle of smokes and an interesting tip to allow you to smoke em all at once...
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