There and Back Again, Mars Style
“It’s a very sobering feeling to be up in space and realize that one’s safety factor was determined by the lowest bidder on a government contract.” - Alan Sheped
I have concerns about using nuclear technology to travel to other planets, mostly because I was in high school when the Space Shuttle Challenger exploded. They announced it over the intercom and there was a lot of discussion about it later. As a result, I don’t have the same sense of commonalty when it comes to space travel that today’s generation might have. I wonder what sort of effects something like the Challenger explosion would have if it was carrying enough nuclear payload to move between planets. Imagine the environmental effects alone as large amounts of radioactive materials are dumped into the ocean because of an explosion.
The flip side is that I think it is the next logical step. Chemical rockets are just too ineffective to realistically travel great distances. Eventually we will have to take a chance and I think with the current administration we might have the best chance of landing on Mars in my lifetime.
Now I just want them to create a Space Elevator.