View Full Version : Deep Impact Orion had no Pusher Plate.

2002-Nov-25, 03:24 AM

In the movie Deep Impact (http://www.planetary.org/html/neo/NEONews/deepimpact.html#why2) the Orion propulsion system was chosen for the spacecraft. Orion was an idea for using a series of small nuclear explosions to propel a spacecraft through the solar system. In the late 1950s and early 1960s, some of the best scientific minds on Earth worked on this project. Although a prototype (http://www.nuclearspace.com) using conventional explosives did fly, the nuclear-powered Orion was never developed. The prototype now hangs in the Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum.

The script required a spacecraft to carry a human crew quickly to the comet, but, as Griffin explained, "We have no propulsion system capable of getting them to a comet. The old Orion system was Gene Shoemaker's idea. So we assumed it had been developed, and we scaled it up."


The portrayal of Orion was one of Burke's greatest concerns -- he worked on the original Orion project. From reading the script, we couldn't tell how it would work or what it would look like, for that will be determined by special effects, which were not completed when this article was prepared. In places, the script seemed to indicate that Orion used a series of pulsed explosions to put-put-put through space -- which would be correct. In other places, it seemed to take off with one big bang, the acceleration from which, Burke pointed out, "would instantly turn the astronauts to Jell-O."

But if the effects are done correctly, what might an Orion-powered spacecraft look like to observers on Earth? Taylor described the possibilities: "Most of what you'd see would be images, not of the explosions themselves, but of their effects on the upper atmosphere -- flashes of multicolored light." It might be possible to see "the expanding explosion of each pulse, something like a bright cone. It might even be blinding."

Taylor added an interesting sidelight: "There was a time when Arthur C. Clarke planned to use Orion in 2001: A Space Odyssey. But they decided the special effects would be too complicated." We'll see how the makers of Deep Impact do.


They did crap. Hollywood and science shouldn't be used together in the same sentence. Damn. I just broke my own guideline. I think a pusher plate would have added some novel originality to the picture. Ofcourse, Hollywood didn't see that at all. Nozzles are way cool and have been done a million times before so are much cheaper from the special effects departments point of view. That's lame. The vehicle they invented was total rubbish. It takes a 5 stage vehicle to get a small 2 man module to the Moon. Nothing exists which can take people to deep space without nuclear power. They could have saved the money they wasted on Theodore Taylor as an advisor. They said they wanted to make the technology as realistic as possible, but what they really mean't was as realistic as possible while simultaneously screwing it up with unleashed artistic license.

NuclearSpace.com (http://www.nuclearspace.com)

<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: projectorion on 2002-11-24 22:26 ]</font>

<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: projectorion on 2002-11-24 22:29 ]</font>

2002-Nov-25, 03:53 AM
Always thought Project Orion sounded like the epitome of a bumpy ride!

2002-Nov-25, 05:53 AM
I saw Deep Impact a long time ago.. Now I will have to rent it again because I don't remember even a quarter of it. /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_biggrin.gif I need to see what you are screaming about..

Orion reference: http://www.socorro.demon.co.uk/orion.htm
From what I remember of that article it pretty much sums it up. -Colt

2002-Nov-25, 12:51 PM
When I scream I use CAPITAL LETTERS. What gets my goat is that they actually say they want real science. They go to the lengths of hiring original members of the Orion Project as advisors. Then they just produce another Hollywood Movie Factory assembly line space flick. Big dumb boosters carry the heroic saviours of Earth to deep space (impossible), then nukes the sucker. Blimey, that ship must have been fuelled with some secret industrial strength prune juice to accomplish that feat. Nukes are heavy. The 1969 Eagle shot just barely escaped a moon with less than 0.2 surface gravity. It literally ran on fumes. It carried just two men. It was an interesting movie except for when the *magical* rocket made me cringe with distaste. Science fiction I like. Fantasy I don't.

You can see footage of the successful bomb propelled model mentioned here (http://www.nuclearspace.com). Amazing stuff. It fires 6 pulses of conventional high explosive then parachutes back to Earth safely. I know a couple of guys trying to build their own.

<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: projectorion on 2002-11-25 07:59 ]</font>

2002-Nov-26, 04:36 AM
Last year the History Channel did a show on Project Orion, it was on their "History Undercover" series. It had interviews with Dyson and others, plus film of the test model in action, putt-putting into the air. One of the scientist still has the test model, or he did when the show was filmed.

I keep waiting for them to reshow it, but no luck.