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By National Research Council

In 2003, NASA started an R&D attempt to enhance nuclear energy and propulsion structures for sun process exploration. This job, renamed undertaking Prometheus in 2004, used to be initiated end result of the inherent obstacles in photovoltaic and chemical propulsion platforms in achieving many sunlight process goals. to aid ensure applicable missions for a nuclear energy and propulsion potential, NASA requested the NRC for an self reliant review of probably hugely meritorious missions that could be enabled if area nuclear platforms grew to become operational. This document presents a chain of house technological know-how goals and missions that may be so enabled within the interval past 2015 within the parts of astronomy and astrophysics, sun method exploration, and sunlight and house physics. it's in keeping with yet doesn't reprioritize the findings of earlier NRC decadal surveys in these 3 parts.

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Additional resources for Priorities in Space Science Enabled by Nuclear Power and Propulsion

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Initial Concerns Although the committee was specifically charged to identify high-priority space science objectives that might be enabled or enhanced by nuclear technologies, it could not, as indicated above, do this in a vacuum. From its very first briefings on Project Prometheus, the committee was highly concerned about a variety of practical issues, including the possible impact of expensive, long-lived, data-rich missions—as exemplified by the now-deferred JIMO—both on the critical infrastructure supporting NASA’s space science activities and, indeed, on the rest of NASA.

Missions using nuclear-electric propulsion (NEP) to the outer solar system—require continuous operation without maintenance or repair for periods as long as 10 to 20 years. No high-power-density reactor has, however, ever been operated on Earth, without maintenance shutdowns, for any period longer than one order of magnitude or more below such a duration. CANDIDATE SOURCES OF ELECTRICAL POWER AND PROPULSION Nuclear-Electric Propulsion Currently, NASA’s Project Prometheus is pursuing the development of NEP systems.

8 The effects of this relationship can be demonstrated by looking at three examples: 1. 5) will require reducing α from ~250–300 to ~75–140. 1) can be combined and plotted to understand how the velocity change (delta-V) needed to undertake four representative missions to the outer solar system scales with important mission metrics such as (clockwise from upper left) transit time, launch mass, propellant mass, and reactor size. The solid lines circumscribe solutions characterized by representative fast and slow transit times.

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