Jan 16, 17 / Aqu 16, 01 06:17 UTC
Nuclear Power in Space ¶
What are people's views of Nuclear energy in use in space?
I don't want to hear that people are against nuclear fission/fusion in space as Stars are fusion/fission generators...
What specific feedback I would like people to provide is in regard to the use of non-solar power generators in space within space vessels/space stations, fully autonomous vessels and satellites.
Larger objects in space provide for a larger target for micro-meteorites or space debris to hit. While I'm a big fan of what solar panels can do, the big problem I see is that should one be hit the larger the environmental impact for function-able satellites, space station, or space vessels.
There are many types of reactors, the most common ones are geared to produce lots of radioactive wastes. I have been reading about Thorium reactors which are inheritance more stable, safer and produce far less nuclear waste. Thorium is highly abundant, I believe that 1cm3 of Thorium can power a car for a year.
While solar is highly effective with newer panel technology providing increasing efficiencies. Thorium would provide a safe, compact energy source, that requires less shielding, is cheap to operate due to its reduced supporting infrastructure requirements.
Space vessels and autonomous vehicles that might be deployed to recover space debris or cargo launched into space would benefit from having power sources that are compact and not prone to damage that can occur when traveling though space debris hot spots.
The two countries that have significant historical research into Thorium reactor technology is the United States (through research done in the 1950's-1970's), and India through their current Thorium reactor program.