Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Bombs for Space

Maybe I'm relying too much on TED videos, but they sure have a lot of interesting people and subjects, and besides that, I don't have much time to think and write in the middle of this very busy trip (and French dinners take a long time).

This brief TED video is about Project Orion, the late-fifties/early-sixties plan to build giant rocket ships propelled by energetic "pulses" created by exploding a sequence of many nuclear bombs behind the ship (giant pusher plates and shock absorbers would try to make this tolerable to the crew). The speaker is George Dyson, a historian whose father, Freeman Dyson, was involved with the Orion Project. George has a lot of documents and images on this project that he probably shouldn't have. Wild stuff.

What's that you say? You'd like to see what flying this Orion nuclear pulse propulsion spacecraft would have been like? You won't be surprised to learn that there is an Orbiter add-on for this project, created by "Sputnik." Be careful with time acceleration if you have any issues with rapidly flashing lights.

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