Nextbigfuture wrote about the designs for an improved nuclear thermal rocket by John Bucknell. John has worked as a senior engineer on the Spacex Raptor rocket. John provides high quality qualified work to his rocket designs and to his proposed space habitat.
Nextbigfuture comments had some technical observations about Project Timberwind and a comment from John himself that his design improves on flaws in the last major nuclear thermal rocket experiments. There were also comments and discussion about Star Trek and communism and O’Neill space stations.
Reddit futurology had two comments. One positive comment by the submitter and a negative comment complaining that the factual title was hype.Instapundit has mainly positive commentary with acknowledgement that nuclear thermal rockets that accepts the technically feasible and proven nature of the technology. There were technical comments about the Von Braun wheel and the radius and rotation rates for the simulated gravity.
The Instapundit audience bemoans the wasted government spending and the comments related to this article also complained about NASA as a jobs program and not trying to achieve real space development.
This youtube video deeply researched and analyzed 2001 a Space Odyssey. Fred Ordway explained how Kubrick and Clarke expected continued development of the Nerva nuclear thermal rocket to achieve a manned Mars mission by 1985-1987. They then expect more advanced nuclear thermal, nuclear gaseous core or a nuclear Orion to be used for the Jupiter mission in 2001. Kubrick had NASA advisors for the technical aspects of the film.
Filming began on 2001 in 1965 and the film was released in 1968. An child of 13 at the start of filming 2001 would be retiring at age 65 today.
We have known what the technology would be that could enable exploration and colonization of the solar system for 60 years and it would only take about 5 years of a focused program to bring it about at any point in the last 50 years. During that time the NASA budget has been nearly $20 billion per year in inflation adjusted dollars and the US Military and soy agency space budgets have been nearly and inflation adjusted $40 billion per year. $3.6 trillion inflation adjusted dollars have been spent on space.
Until Spacex and other than Apollo we have become accepting and expecting very little to be accomplished in space. Even with Spacex showing that ten times more can be accomplished from the few percent of budgets actually spent on rocket development and space missions, there is still the sense that little can and should be done in space.
It is as if Ferdinand II of Aragon and Isabella I of Castile of Spain and their descendants accepted 60-80 years of annual ship voyages around the Mediterranean instead of a vigorous colonization and development of North America despite funding at a level that could easily colonize the Americas.
Many people today hope for new undeveloped technology breakthroughs to superconductors, fusion and metallic hydrogen to some how make things so easy that the bureaucracy and waste would not piss it away and still accomplish nothing.
Brian Wang is a Futurist Thought Leader and a popular Science blogger with 1 million readers per month. His blog Nextbigfuture.com is ranked #1 Science News Blog. It covers many disruptive technology and trends including Space, Robotics, Artificial Intelligence, Medicine, Anti-aging Biotechnology, and Nanotechnology.
Known for identifying cutting edge technologies, he is currently a Co-Founder of a startup and fundraiser for high potential early-stage companies. He is the Head of Research for Allocations for deep technology investments and an Angel Investor at Space Angels.
A frequent speaker at corporations, he has been a TEDx speaker, a Singularity University speaker and guest at numerous interviews for radio and podcasts. He is open to public speaking and advising engagements.