The Secret History of Project Orion: To Mars by A-Bomb (BBC Documentary 2003)

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Lorenzo von Matterhorn
Jan 31, 2009
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Is'nt that referenced in the Sci-fi book "Footfall"? Might have been "Lucifer's Hammer", but I read one last year or the year before where they fight against the aliens by doing the Orion.
If you ever wonder where I get some of my totally random thoughts and crazy ideas, thank Niven and Pournell and their ilk.
I've been driven mad by things that are plausible, and so now everything is a possibility in my mind and well worth consideration.
Bring on the future!!!
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Up until a few years ago, there was a project called the MiniMag Orion that was proposed to create nuclear bursts by compressing the fissile material in a magnetic field. Then it went poof.
Orion in a sense would work better with size. Nuclear test ban killed it. They did design a small version that would have been put into orbit on a Saturn 5, but it would have been tiny for an Orion.

Between the radiation and the emp it was stopped. If we could build one in lunar orbit maybe we would have something.

Then there was NERVA.
Winston, Some of movie footage in this latest footage is terrific! Project Orion is probably the only real hope of reaching the nearest star in a reasonable amount of time, say 40 years with appreciable payload. The specific impulse on the nuclear-powered thermal NERVA is way to low for interstellar travel, although, it may be practical for interplanetary flight. The nuclear test ban treaties and the public's abhorrence of putting thousands of nuclear bombs in a rocket have effectively killed this project.

There is the laser project out there to aim a field of lasers at tiny space probes, but this technology is essentially unproven. There is a simple formula for rocket propulsion that gives the effective exhaust velocity as a function of the mass that is converted to energy. Nuclear energy gives exhaust velocities that are on the order of a few psol (percent of the speed of light).

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