In 2012, nuclear energy is no more new, we have been using it since past 60 years with lot of implications like handling nuclear waste to radiation poisoning in case of any accidental leakage. So “Why don’t modern spacecraft use nuclear power ?”
The Voyager 1 & 2 spacecraft launched in 1977 with Plutonium as their source of electricity. 34 years later they claim these two spacecraft have enough power to last them until at least 2020. That means they will have had enough power to last them at least 42 years. It obviously offers enough power to literally send transmissions across the entire solar system.
Why don’t modern spacecraft use nuclear power if it offers such longevity and power? You would think that 34 years later we would have the technology to make this even more viable source of electricity then when the Voyagers were designed and built. The New Frontiers spacecraft seems like an excellent candidate for nuclear power. Radioisotope Thermoelectric Generators (RTGs) are used when a spacecraft will be venturing too far from the sun to get enough power from it, or when it experiences extended periods of darkness while still needing to operate. This is the case with the Pioneer missions, Voyager missions, the Cassini missions.
RTGs are dangerous, especially if the spacecraft fails during launch, or an earth-flyby goes badly (this could spread radioactive material across a continent), and don’t generate much power when compared to solar panels in close proximity to the sun. Solar panels are used for missions that will almost always have a clear view of the sun, where they can generate much more power than RTGs can. But this not true, if you Google this out. The true story goes out like this : “Solar is not used due to expense or expediency, it is used due to political pressure afforded by general uneducated paranoia.”
Political pressure hampering our Space Explorations.Damn, these idiots think Space Exploration is the last thing mankind needs.
I am a computer guy, I don’t have any knowledge of Nuclear Science, except for what I learned in my school days. I have been always been fascinated with the power and wonders of the Nuclear Energy. I believe in future when we run out of non-renewable sources of energy like coal, petroleum, etc.. We may have to rely on the nuclear fuel, till we have a breakthrough to use the non-renewable source practically. This may be achieved by using the nuclear fuel present in space. For example Helium-3
Brought down to earth (literally) by some of the slightly (?) exaggerated facets of, none other than, Rajnikant !! yeah… He is literally a semi god for South Indian movie fans and no less than an icon for others. I cannot watch his horrible movies, they are a big zeher ….. hold your breath, here it comes –>
1) Outer space exists because it’s afraid to be on the same planet with Rajnikant (some science, huh !!)
2) Rajnikant has counted to infinity – twice. (of course, he went on the negative side too…)
3) (Now this one is my favorite…) When Rajnikant does a pushup, he isn’t lifting himself up, he’s pushing earth down.
4) Rajnikant is so fast, he can run around the world and punch himself in the back of the head. (and Einstein though nothing runs faster than light…)
5) Rajnikant doesn’t wear a watch, HE decides what time it is. (and then there was Rajni !!)
6) Rajnikant can slam a revolving door.
7) Rajnikant gave Mona Lisa that smile. (alas !! the code is solved…)
8) Rajnikant’s house has no doors, only walls that he walks through. (birla cement filed a lawsuit on him once, they say…)
9) Rajnikant grinds his coffee with his teeth and boils the water with his own rage. (thats why his movies seem to be having such a pot boiler of an end, huh??)
10) If you Google Search ‘Rajnikant getting kicked’, you will generate zero results. It just doesn’t happen. (No comments)
11) It takes Rajnikant 20 minutes to watch 60 Minutes. (Space time continuum is a joke for this dude, must say…)
12) The Bermuda Triangle used to be the Bermuda Square, until Rajnikant kicked one of the corners off.
13) There are no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq; Rajnikant lives in Chennai. (There you go Mr. Bush, Saddam was innocent, after all !!)
14) Rajnikant once ate an entire bottle of sleeping pills. They made him blink. (No wonder !)
15) The only things that run faster and longer than Rajnikant are his films.
16) Rajnikant’s every step creates a mini whirlwind. Hurricane Katrina was the result of a morning jog. (oh Katrina…)
17) (quite proverbial, this one) Where there is a will, there is a way. Where there is Rajnikant, there is no other way.
I’m a big fan of the Hubble telescope. Beyond its obvious scientific merit, its photos simply have a lot of aesthetic and entertainment value. A nice place to browse through Hubble photos is HubbleSite.org.
So, I was excited to hear that NASA officials announced that the Webb Space Telescope (Hubble’s successor) is on track to launch in 2013. As reported by Reuters:
"Edward Weiler, head of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, said after cost overruns a couple of years ago, the project has met every technical, cost, and schedule milestone for the past 20 months. During the earlier stages of development, the telescope's launch date slipped from the originally scheduled 2011 to 2013.
The Webb telescope is envisioned as the first of a new generation of space observatories, set to orbit nearly a million miles from Earth to allow scientists to look further into the universe than ever before in five decades of space exploration."
Here are two NASA illustrations that show what the Webb Space Telescope will look like and how it compares to Hubble:
This should give us a glimpse farther into space than we’ve ever seen before. Sound exciting to you?