Ijaw Dictionary Online

How Automobiles Work

From a technology standpoint, there’s not
too many greater challenges than nuclear power in space. The physics involved in it is quite intense
— it has that luster of something totally different. We start with that highly enriched core, the
splitting of the atoms generates that heat that we need at the right power levels, at
the right temperature levels, and then we transfer that heat up to the power conversion
system. You convert that to electricity at that engine,
reject some of the waste heat, and then use the electricity for whatever you’re trying
to power, whether it’s a coffee maker or a very expensive instrument for science. It sounds pretty simple because it kind of
is simple. It’s just the engineering pieces aren’t always
simple. Nuclear energy and space flight have a deep
history that stretches all the way back to the Cold War. At the time, scientists were looking for new
ways to harness the power of the atom, and nuclear offered something special for deep-space
missions. We don’t have to rely on the sun. When we go out in deep space or whether we’re
in a shadowed crater on the moon or whatever, we’ve got our own energy source. That’s the biggest plus. The secondary piece of that is the amount
of power that energy can provide. Fission power is very, very high on the power
density scale. As a quick refresher, nuclear fission releases
heat energy by splitting atoms, and fusion combines two lighter atoms into a larger one. They both release an enormous amount of energy,
but scientists found fission easier to control for space missions. To tap into nuclear’s potential, NASA launched
a research program called SNAP. This kickstarted the development of radioisotope
thermoelectric generators, which use plutonium-238 and thermocouples to convert heat into electricity. These units have been on a number of famous
missions like Curiosity, Cassini, Pioneer, and even Voyager 1, which is currently cruising
on RTG power 21 billion kilometers away from us. The program also developed SNAP 10A, a fission
reactor that’s considered the U.S.’s first and only known nuclear space reactor. It took off in 1965, failed after 43 days
into the mission, and will be orbiting Earth for another 3,000 years. All subsequent nuclear space programs, like
NERVA, which looked into nuclear powered rockets, were shuttered or just didn’t get off the
ground. Now, given, they were working on bigger power
systems, which was part of the problem, I think. But, they were also chasing materials and
processes and things that weren’t available at the time. Today, nuclear power systems are seeing a
comeback, and that’s thanks to new mission targets. When we start talking about putting men on
the moon in 2024 or on Mars in the 2030’s, you need a lot more power. That’s where fission really kicks in. Kilopower, is one to ten kilowatts of electrical
power. That’s starting with the fuel source. It’s uranium, molybdenum alloy fuel. Highly enriched. We have sodium heat pipes that are attached
to that core. That sodium heat pipe carries that heated
vapor up to the Stirling power conversion system, and then we have to cool the cold
side of the engines to get that temperature difference that we need for that power conversion
and keep the engines from overheating. The other pieces of the reactor that are,
obviously, very important are the neutron reflector. That helps direct those neutrons back into
the core and keep that chain reaction going at the power levels that we need. Before operating this, we have a poison rod
inside the center of that core and then, when we get to our destination we have a mechanism
that would pull that rod out, make sure that those neutrons will not be absorbed anymore
and they can start the actual chain reaction that we need. One of the biggest attributes, I think, to
the success of this program was that we kept everything very small. And, we’re looking to make it as lightweight
as possible. Once the design was approved by NASA, the
system and the people behind it were shipped off to Nevada for testing. KRUSTY was the experiment, which stood for
Kilopower reactor using Stirling technology. That experiment was really a follow-on to
the Duff experiment, a demonstration using flat top fissions. Los Alamos, typically, or always likes to
name their nuclear experiments after Simpsons’ characters. We run through all those mission scenarios,
where we would turn off the cooling to the whole top end of the power conversion system
and see how the reactor reacted. And then, how we could really mess with them
and see is it going to be a stable controlled reactor. The experiment culminated in a 28-hour test,
from reactor startup to shutdown. It operated at 800 degrees Celsius and produced
over 4 kilowatts of power. The highest power nuclear mission we’ve ever
completed was Cassini, that had 870 watts. So, already our lowest is already higher than
any mission that’s ever been done. We did things to that reactor that you shouldn’t
do to a reactor, but it was really neat the way it handles. From concept to test was about three and a
half years. That’s a real quick timetable. To me, that’s the most impressive piece. Me and one of my buddies down at Marshall,
as we were cleaning things up afterwards. You know, the thousands of CAD models that
we had and the information that was generated, we’re like, how did we do all that work? I’m like, I don’t know. Some days, I don’t know. We worked a lot of hours and just had a lot
of passion. The fact that it worked really well was just
a bonus. This was a major step in demonstrating nuclear
power’s feasibility in the new space age, but there are still hurdles ahead. The real challenges are really political and
how we develop all the safety and security pieces to launching a nuclear system. There’s a whole lot of work related to making
sure that there’s no way you accidentally start that reactor up. And then there’s what we call the launch safety
piece, which also has a criticality accident associated with it, so if the launch vehicle
fails, and it falls into the ocean or on a beach or in the general public, we have to
show that it’s not going to turn itself on. Political will might be in favor this time. Congress recently passed a bill earmarking
$100 million for NASA to develop nuclear thermal rocket engines. So a future of fission, for both propulsion
and power, is looking ever more promising. We’ve just finished some studies with JPL
on how we use this for what we call nuclear electric propulsion. So, you couple our reactor with an electric
propulsion system and we can go do deep space missions, carrying much higher payloads, faster
times. We’ve got design concepts that couple four
of those to give us forty kilowatts electricity on one lander that now you can use for your
human habitat. Once we improve the technology and it’s available
as a power source, you’ll start to see some really neat propulsions on what they can do
with that extra power.

100 thoughts on “NASA’s New Space Engine Is Powered by Nuclear Fission

  1. You’d think the spokesman for the ‘Nuclear Sterling Engine’ would know how to properly pronounce ‘Nuclear’

    And don’t explain it away with the accent. Words are words, you don’t get to make up new ones.

  2. When a western side ctry or company needs nuclear fussion she simply got it
    Whether for fun research armoury n exploration
    No one hesitates that
    For sure the military willing to supply
    Do you think these collaborated people processed it at home
    Oh no what a joke
    So simple so easy so double standard so bias n so foolish
    When certain ctries would also like to discriminate the use of this kind of fussion
    the West became so confused so suspicious n insane
    They started sanctions embargoes suppression n even declaring war
    The UN is so so n so busy
    Double Standard Democracy to be forcily swallowed

  3. old farts rule ! whart's all this here fussin bout. they played with this shit back in the mid to late 60's
    Even had some animation to accompany the vessel . ( graphic's )
    Dude, did that say, "Krusty" ?
    "see: are abc's" ( c's = sea's ) see
    are ( mo-shi ) ✔ them abs ..
    uh O
    Mabs Mayblee(d) big mama
    shaved her ass with straight razor ! as shaving humor. then called on her lover, ice pick, alway told the scoundrel to bring
    match & a six pack of beer.
    Three Pints & a fifth.
    spell thart !

  4. If our governments weren't complete ass, who knows, we could have already possibly have somebody on Pluto but no, everyone has to fight over pointless wars that would lead to our annihilation. If our governments were actually decent, we could work together on space travel, what will lead to us to the salvation to humanity cause I dunno about you but climate change and water problems are pretty close to us. If the worlds space travel funding was given to a unified space organisation, who knows where we would be know but instead all the money is being directed to the military of every power-hungry nation

  5. Why are they doubling down on fission, when they could be pioneering the first fusion technology without all of the risk fission creates

  6. Nuclear fission, your first steps to control the singularity…Be careful, the ultimate smallest thing you will find is the devil himself, Jack in the box…
    P.S: Very interesting tone and voice Mr Nasa😊

  7. Marc Gibson, ….. WHY do YOU say newcular instead of neclear ??????
    It drives me mad, to hear a so-called educated person mispronounce words like that, ….. why do you do it?????

  8. Russia already made that engine in 2010. 😂🤣 NASA need to make rocket engine 1st to take their Astronauts to ISS. 😂🤣

  9. Use element 115 seth romanek has all the blueprints telepathed from aliens .its true watch Seth romanek .and bob lazar talked bout element 115 30 years ago.aliens abducted aeth romanek and he sucked at math.and drew blue prints and equations tp warp space .im sure the gov.already does this anyway

  10. Magnetic levitation nuclear fusion dark matter propulsion Just imagine if we put our resources for space exploration instead of Self annihilation

  11. Now we gonna have nuclear clouds every time they shoot one up the trails it leaves behind will go into clouds and effect the people living on earth

  12. I bet you a fly with their wings that beat 333 times per second has a better technology than this dumbbell slowpoke spaceships 🚀.

    To travel in space harnessing dark energy is just a beginners flapping a wing.

    Engines can do nothing in space. Imagine a engine 25 years and it breaks down and your fucked in the middle of nowhere worst than I’m gas chambers.

    Earth 🌍 with the entire mass can not travel more than 30 km/s

    Sun with the entire nuclear fusion and mass can not travel more than 230 km/s.

    This people are a joke they are just sniffing dope being deluded from their by by toys.

  13. Maybe in another decade or two they'll catch up to Soviet Union/Russia.
    Then again, they haven't been able to catch up with rocket engines, still using Russian engines on the Atlas rockets.
    And still relying on Russia to get their astronauts onto the ISS.

  14. Seems to me that NASA is rolling out tech they worked on decades ago because they don't want private companies beating them to the punch!

  15. Yeah right……and after the moonlandings technoligy went backwards…..cuz now we can only play in low orbit, meanwhile all kinds of shit fly,s everywhere in space……my imagination is screwed by nasa. I dont like 6 different anwsers to ONE SIMPLE FUCKIN QUESTION….did you see stars in space? Not the cgi ones on my pathetic smartphone….i mean IN REALITY!!!. BWWLEHHH. NASA SUCKS HARDER THAN MY VACUUMCLEANER

  16. What is NASA waiting for to strap a couple of those engines on to the international space station and send it to Mars?

  17. How about adding some gyro stabilisation so that when landing it will maintain its upright position instead of using thrust vectoring to rotate the ship?
    Gyros are extremely useful and will be very useful in space when people realise the potential of using them in different ways.. UGH i wish i could R&D for free at NASA!

  18. All those yellow standard household 120 volt electrical male plugs sold at the home depot for $2.49…couldn't they come up with a more sophisticated connection mechanism ?

  19. The viewer should be reminded that humanity has not mastered fusion technology. That’s why they are using fission.

  20. What can do people on the other planet?Almost nothing. There is no posible to do another Earth with today knowledge. And you must know very clear: to be on other planet with all conditions from hear, even friends, family,nature or much better life will generate a higher power love for our planet. It will not good at all. Or, maybe i am wrong.

  21. Don Petit says we could go to the moon in a nanosecond but unfortunately we destroyed the technology and it's a painful process to build it back.


  22. Fission is not easy to control in space missions. Scientists just do not know how to créate energy with fusion yet

  23. I don't mean to be a smart-ass but isn't there radiation in space I mean that's what we call our energy electromagnetic radiation so if there is in fact radiation in space why don't you think you could create a device to harness it just like Nikola Tesla said we are swimming in an a sea of energy

  24. Given NASA safety record from 1963 – 2000 I dont have much faith in putting humans into deep space while riding a nuclear powered rocket.

  25. Easy Peasy lemon squeezy …..selling the blue prints for a nuclear space Engine. Hurry before Kim Jong gets the deal.

  26. Don't you dare deploy that object in space just like you're not supposed to blow s*** up on any Celestial body in the universe that was signed in 1953 to 1957 and y'all are still blowing s*** up on the f**** Moon you better quit I get off the ground and get a chance to get up there the ain't no law there and I will handle business

  27. If you want it to be safe have a outer shell that locks and detach it's self from the frame and use a backup system to keep your power constant in replacement

  28. Do you think they secretly have nuclear powered aircraft? I know that they were trying to design them in the fifties but one design was too heavy and the other spewed radiation. But I imagine that with modern materials science the weight issue could be overcome.

  29. I love it when a nuclear scientist cant say "nuclear".. This is billionaire level irony.. But i love these people from the bottom of my heart… If the world was NOT upside down these prolific humans would be receiving the red carpet treatment.. Not the dumb drugged out Hollywood Harpies

  30. There is so much misinformation in this video, it's hard to believe they managed to fit it all in. Maybe you guys should do some research before trying to educate others.


  32. Are they using a liquid nitrogen coolant system, that flows through tubes to keep the systems cool, and prevent a system overload? Its cool it allows for a system thats similar to a gas powered fighter jet. This type of power system will allow for smaller and lighter space crafts that will also allow for more technology interfaces with the current systems. Way cool.

  33. Makes for a way easier engine to be made if their using a system that produces electricity. Because you know you will have a lighter ship. Big bucks once they get investors.

  34. KRUSTY…. TY…. TechnologY…. NASA, sorry to break it to you, but that is not how abbreviation works!
    Also that dude is BIG, looks like he could take on John Cena!

  35. it would be cool if we can overtake the voyager and see it

    recover it…

    you know what am saying

    a advanced vehicle would be amazing


  37. I can’t believe it. That mofo is using a vernier to mesure stuff up.

    A vernier scale is not even precise enough to make a bearing mount…

    There is a such a thing as a depth micrometer, you FRAUDS.

  38. and yet russia uses nuclear powered cruise missiles how they do that?and why US cant use it to space shuttles?

    or.what a space power plant? misleading tittle

  39. So why don't they make an engine that uses nuclear fusion and fission? Then they could have an everlasting power source from thee atoms combining and separating over and over, back and forth

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *