SPACE: NASA says the 'N' word...

From: Mike Lorrey (
Date: Thu Feb 07 2002 - 14:46:09 MST

NASA has just given/gotten the goahead for new development of nuclear
power and propulsion systems for space vehicles. Beyond RTG's, NASA
wants Sterling Radioisotope Generators (SRGs) as well as nuclear rockets
and nuclear powered ion engines for long range exploration: not just for
Pluto and Kuiper Belt probes, but for unmanned and manned Mars

> Welcomed news
> NASA’s space nuclear agenda was strongly applauded here at
> the STAIF-2002 meeting. Experts from such agencies as the
> Department of Energy, Los Alamos National Laboratory and
> Sandia National Laboratory, including numbers of “old-timers”
> in power and propulsion, expressed satisfaction that the space
> agency is openly embracing space nuclear power again.

and it seems our old Luddite friends were there:

> Military takeover of space
> Outside the STAIF meeting in downtown Albuquerque,
> protesters of space nuclear power stood on street corners.
> Sponsored by the Global Network Against Weapons and
> Nuclear Power in Space, based in Gainesville, Florida, signs
> called out: “Star Wars is a bad seed”; “No weapons in space”;
> “No nuclear rocket”; and “End aerospace corporation welfare”

> “The military’s taken over the space program and the
> distinction between civilian and military is being rubbed out,”
> Gagnon told “The real debate has to be about
> what kind of seed we’re now poised to carry into the heavens.
> What we see coming out of NASA, the military, and the
> Department of Energy is this bad seed of war, greed, and
> environmental degradation,” he said.
> Gagnon said that space-based laser weapons would be
> powered by nuclear reactors, orbiting hardware viewed as an
> element of national missile defense.

I'm just surprised that that old anti-nuker astrophysicist Michio
"Ka-Ka" Kaku wasn't there spewing inanities about solar power and the
alleged risks of RTGs...

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