Feeds

Russia planning nuclear-powered manned spaceship

Reactor cruiser aimed at Moon, Mars missions

Top three mobile application threats

Russian space chiefs are considering plans for a manned spacecraft with a nuclear powerplant aboard, according to reports. Indications are that the nuclear kit would provide electrical power rather than being used directly for propulsion.

RIA Novosti reports that Anatoly Perminov, chief of the Russian space agency Roscosmos, revealed the scheme at a meeting yesterday. Reportedly Perminov specifically mentioned Megawatt-class nuclear space power systems (MCNSPS), which would normally refer to "an appropriate nuclear reactor heat source" generating electrical power aboard a spacecraft by one of several conversion methods (massive old NASA pdf here).

The report says that the Roscosmos boss mentioned MCNSPS specifically in the context of "implementing large-scale space exploration programs". His fellow Russian space bigwig Anatoly Koroteyev had earlier stated that the key issue with manned missions to the Moon and Mars was "development of new propulsion systems and energy supplies with a high degree of energy-mass efficiency".

Spacecraft today are typically propelled by chemically-fuelled rockets and powered by solar panels (or sometimes fuel cells for short-duration missions). Chemical rockets in particular tend to require so much fuel to accomplish anything that very little actual payload can be carried, especially in the case of return trips beyond Earth orbit.

Any chemically-powered manned mission to Mars would have to coast almost all the way there and back, taking six months each way. Aboard a typical lightweight spacecraft - the only sort that feeble chemical rockets can propel - this would be quite likely to mean astronauts dying of cosmic radiation sickness. Magnetic shielding is a possibility, but this would probably be a serious power drain.

3 Big data security analytics techniques

More from The Register

next story
Red-faced LOHAN team 'fesses up in blown SPEARS fuse fiasco
Standing in the corner, big pointy 'D' hats
KILLER SPONGES menacing California coastline
Surfers are safe, crustaceans less so
Opportunity selfie: Martian winds have given the spunky ol' rover a spring cleaning
Power levels up 70 per cent as the rover keeps on truckin'
KILLER ROBOTS, DNA TAMPERING and PEEPING CYBORGS: the future looks bright!
Americans optimistic about technology despite being afraid of EVERYTHING
Discovery time for 200m WONDER MATERIALS shaved from 4 MILLENNIA... to 4 years
Alloy, Alloy: Boffins in speed-classification breakthrough
Liftoff! SpaceX Falcon 9 lifts Dragon on third resupply mission to ISS
SpaceX snaps smartly into one-second launch window
Elon Musk's LEAKY THRUSTER gas stalls Space Station supply run
Helium seeps from Falcon 9 first stage, delays new legs for NASA robonaut
prev story

Whitepapers

Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Top three mobile application threats
Learn about three of the top mobile application security threats facing businesses today and recommendations on how to mitigate the risk.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.