• LughOPMA
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    24 days ago

    These tests confirmed, it is claimed, that key technological hurdles have been overcome to allow the reactor to be sent to space

    Lockheed Martin in the US is also working on similar tech.

    Interestingly, they refer to this as ‘expandable’ to the size of a 20-storey building, yet capable of being launched on a rocket. Presumably, most of it will be some scaffolding or lattice-type structure for the heat-sink elements.

    If the Chinese or Lockheed Martin researchers pull this off, it’s bye-bye to the idea of SpaceX’s Starship for Earth-Mars travel.

    Considering how long nuclear fission reactors have been powering submarines and large ships (that started in the 1950’s) it’s strange it’s taken them this long to get to space, where they have such obvious advantages over chemical rockets. There’s no indication when this Chinese reactor will be tested in space though.

    • @ringwraithfish@startrek.website
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      1124 days ago

      it’s strange it’s taken them this long to get to space

      It’s not too strange considering how little most of society cared about space beyond Earth’s orbit. Even the last of the Apollo missions were met with little fanfare outside of the space industry.

      The billionaires’ dick measuring contest and other countries beyond Russia showing actual progress in their own space programs have finally kicked up enough competition to get some aspects of the Space Race going again, including investments in newer technology.

      I’ve heard for every dollar spent on space it benefits the US eight times over.

  • @h3ndrik@feddit.de
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    24 days ago

    Sounds a bit overkill to make the “continuous power supply for at least 10 years” if your trip is just 6 weeks.

    • @JeeBaiChow@lemmy.world
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      624 days ago

      Maybe not - the additional weight (maybe asditional fuel pellets) could be offset by the benefits, mars-side. E.g. If it can be integrated into the lander component, it can power a settlement or some experiments, at the very least. If left in orbit, it can also power a medium/ long term communications satellite for a while too.