Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Combining Nuclear Fission and MagnetoHydroDynamics for Space Propulsion

via NBF

In two recent blog postings, both here, and here, cutting edge science and technology blogger Brian Wang takes a look at nuclear / magnetohydrodynamic (MHD) approaches to space propulsion and electrical power generation in space.
MHD involves the acceleration of ionised plasma through a strong magnetic field to generate electric power. Such a system could provide electric power and space-based propulsion as long as plentiful fuel mass is available.

This NextBigFuture article also discusses ground based MHD systems as a clean and economic alternative for burning coal.

An interesting combination of "ground-based" and "space-based" MHD propulsion would involve the gradual ongoing hollowing out of a small asteroid, using the mining tailings as propellant fuel, and the asteroid itself as a spacecraft. Such a system could be used for either a long-range outbound space mission, or for an outer-system to and from inner-system, shuttle.



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