Oct 172016

The History Channel has a new series, “Doomsday: 10 Ways he World will End.” Each episode describes some scientifically possible doomsday scenario… the first episode had a dinosaur-killer asteroid impact, the second had the Earth swallowed by a supermassive black hole. (One of these is more likely than the other…). The third episode, aired just a few days ago, has a rogue planet with the mass of Neptune plow into the Earth.

At the end of the last episode, discussion was made of the possibility of mankind surviving Earth getting steamrolled by an interstellar interloper by sending an emergency colonization mission to Mars. It was only a couple of minutes, mostly illustrated with stock footage of modern launch vehicles being assembled. But one of the talking heads suggested that the means of getting to mars would be via Orion nuclear pulse vehicle. A *very* brief shot of the Orion vehicle zipping past was included. The Orion CG model was obviously rather quickly slapped together. It was pretty generic, but on the whole looked reasonable enough. But for some reason the craft was given an unnecessary and impossible to justify rocket nozzle smack in the middle of the pusher plate. I took a few snapshots of the TV screen with my cameraphone… seemed good enough under the circumstances.

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 Posted by at 3:12 am
  • Peter Hanely

    I recall some early nuclear pulse propulsion concepts having a nozzle, the bomb being loaded in the thrust chamber with a charge of reaction mass. Difficulties with that arrangement aren’t hard to see. But it should (if the difficulties can be managed) produce a much greater total impulse/bomb without any nuclear shaped charge being needed. But these didn’t use a separate pusher plate.

    More recent concepts involve a magnetic nozzle, but again no separate pusher plate.

  • se jones
    • Scottlowther

      Haven’t paid it much heed, to be honest. The bits I’ve read remind me of *both* of the “universes” I occasionally write about… which makes me want to not read “Orions Arm” so’s I don’t steal any ideas or get discouraged that something similar is already out there.

    • publiusr

      Looks like a Nexus first stage?