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View Full Version : Meduse without the nukes



Gullible Jones
2014-Apr-01, 11:30 PM
To go with the "nuclear PDE" in the other thread here...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nuclear_pulse_propulsion#Medusa

How effective could a concept like this be with conventional explosives? In particular, could it be any more efficient than a normal rocket for interplanetary use (i.e. less fuel consumption, higher specific impulse)?

cjameshuff
2014-Apr-02, 12:18 AM
Rocket engines are already extremely efficient, close to the theoretical maximum. There's just not much room for improvement. Conventional explosives also don't have great energy density (they're designed to release it quickly in a brief blast when appropriately triggered, not to store large amounts of energy in a given mass), you wouldn't want to fuel a vehicle with TNT propulsion bomblets. A pulsed engine might possibly be marginally more efficient due to the more rapid expansion, but likely not enough to compensate for the additional mass of vibration suppression, etc.

Gullible Jones
2014-Apr-02, 12:31 AM
Thanks. I figured there was a reason I hadn't seen it discussed, but thought it was worth floating the idea.

ravens_cry
2014-Apr-02, 05:28 AM
It'd be good for a proof of concept, like the Orion "hot rod" (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uQCrPNEsQaY) but I have my doubts for anything but that.