Sunday, February 28, 2010
The article “The Daedalus Spacecraft” by Allan Bellows talks about a massive plan to send a space craft. It would be moving at 76.6 million kilometers an hour or 1/8th the speed of light, propelling towards another star to see if there was any life there. This project was thought of in the 1980s but never agreed on because of the cost and the rareness of the element Helium -3. The fuel would power the nuclear reactor engine. Atoms would be bombarded with explosions and explode at 250 times a second to propel the rocket forward. The rocket would have 3 main objectives: (1) use current or near-future technology; (2) it must reach its destination within a human lifetime and, (3) the spacecraft must be designed to allow for a variety of target stars. The rocket would also have 3 main parts. The fuel tanks and combustion/exhaust 1 and 2 and storage for the pods that would exit off of the craft to go exploring elsewhere. All of the crafts would be able to take pictures of what they were flying by but would not be able to stop and explore. The cost of receiving the extra fuel and installing it on the craft while letting it be able to carry all of the fuel would slow it down too much. The Daedalus spacecraft idea has been hung up because people want the space program working on something more achievable and because of the cost. They might reconsider if it was a world effort instead of just a single country attempt.