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tocqueville Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-10-06 05:49 PM
Original message
Spacecraft Enters Orbit Around Mars
By ALICIA CHANG, AP Science Writer
9 minutes ago

PASADENA, Calif. - A NASA spacecraft successfully slipped into orbit around Mars Friday, joining a trio of orbiters already circling the Red Planet.

Scientists cheered after the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter emerged from the planet's shadow and signaled to NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory that the maneuver was a success.

The two-ton spacecraft is the most sophisticated ever to arrive at Mars and is expected to gather more data on the Red Planet than all previous Martian missions combined.

It will explore Mars in low orbit for four years and is expected to churn out the most detailed information ever about the planet and its climate and landscape

http://news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&cid=514&u=/ap/200...
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htuttle Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-10-06 05:56 PM
Response to Original message
1. Nice driving...err...calculating!
I read earlier that the craft is as large (spatially) as a city bus.

That's got to be the biggest thing we've ever sent that far away.

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Rick Myers Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-10-06 05:56 PM
Response to Original message
2. It made it!!!! Congratulations to JPL!!!
Edited on Fri Mar-10-06 05:57 PM by Rick Myers
Let the research begin!!!

edit: sp
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sam sarrha Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-10-06 06:18 PM
Response to Original message
3. it is said that they found Tritium in the atmosphere of Mars, only Fusion
reactors can produce a lot of Tritium. so the story goes that it will be cheaper and faster to just go to Mars and bring a Fusion reactor back.. than keep trying to make one ourselves..

they still have a warehouse full of Nuclear engines from the cold war.. they are one shot items, disposable.

i heard they can send a Huge spacecraft to mars in 3 months.
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tocqueville Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-10-06 08:00 PM
Response to Reply #3
5. easy now
Tritium occurs naturally due to cosmic rays interacting with atmospheric gases. In the most important reaction for natural tritium production, a fast neutron interacts with atmospheric nitrogen

Because of tritium's relatively short half-life, however, tritium produced in this manner does not accumulate over geological timescales, and its natural abundance is negligible. Industrially, tritium is produced in nuclear reactors by neutron activation of lithium-6.

Usage

The emitted electrons from small amounts of Tritium cause phosphors to glow so as to make self-illuminating devices called trasers which are now used in watches and exit signs. It is also used in certain countries to make glowing keychains. In recent years, the same process has been used to make self-illuminating gun sights for firearms

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

so you don't need fusion (besides industrial fusion doesn't exist yet). I don't know about tritium in Mars atmosphere but I know some think that there could be plenty on the surface of the moon. Which doesn't mean it's easy to extract.

nuclear engines are only at the test stage and right know the biggest launch engine ever made cannot fly. The Space station relies on Soyouz and Ariane. It will take 10 years before we can get back to the moon and it will be a copy of the Apollo mission.

the most promising engines right now are ion propulsion engines but before they can propulse heavy loads at fast speed, a lot of work need to be done. Besides they'll have to be lifted with conventional rockets.
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sam sarrha Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-10-06 08:06 PM
Response to Reply #5
6. the Nuclear hydrogen engines are functional and are warehoused
they were developed during the cold war..as high speed retaliation delivery systems.. I saw a documentary on them

and it may not have been tritium.. could have been a isotope.. it was a while back..
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tocqueville Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-10-06 08:35 PM
Response to Reply #6
7. they are probably stored at Area 51
Project Prometheus was established in 2003 by NASA to develop nuclear-powered systems for long-duration space missions.

This is NASA's first serious foray into nuclear spacecraft propulsion since the cancellation of the NERVA project in 1972.

However, as of 2005, the Project faces an uncertain future and is likely to be reduced to a low-level research effort. Its budget will shrink from $430 million in 2005 to only $100 million in 2006, $90 million of which is already being allocated to pay closeout costs on cancelled contracts.

NERVA is an acronym for Nuclear Engine for Rocket Vehicle Application. It was a Nuclear thermal rocket. The NERVA rocket engine was based on Kiwi nuclear reactor technology. In the early 1960s NASA planned to use NERVA to power a RIFT (Reactor-In-Flight-Test) nuclear stage to be launched in the early 1970s. The completed NERVA would be a nuclear powered upper stage for the Saturn V, which would allow the upgraded Saturn to launch interplanetary payloads. NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center had the development responsibility for the rocket stage. The program was cancelled in 1972.


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

I don't know, maybe you are talking about a certain type of ballistic missiles. Fact is that nuclear propulsion is mainly on the drawing board
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sam sarrha Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-11-06 12:27 AM
Response to Reply #7
8. i saw a detailed documentary on the the developement of the engines, saw
films of the tests, they showed the rods inside before and after the tests.. they had some problems but they worked..

they also discussed upgrading them to use as one shot dosposables to to get to and form mars

...still on the drawing board, what i was talking worked, they were crude but they worked...I am not lying
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madrchsod Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-10-06 07:29 PM
Response to Original message
4. we would be on mars by now but the us
space program decided to go in the trucking business. what an incredible blunder on the part of nasa and civilization is paying the price.
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