1AC Asteroids Advantage

Long-Period Comets are likely, evade current defenses, and risk extinction IAA 9 (International Academy of Astronautics, “Dealing With The Threat To Earth From Asteroids And Comets”, http://iaaweb.org/iaa/Scientific%20Activity/Study%20Groups/SG%20Commission

LPCs ) tend to be ignored in NEO studies at this time because the probability of an impact by a long-period comet is believed to be very much smaller than by an asteroid. However, virtually all NEOs larger than a few kilometers are comets rather than asteroids, and such large NEOs are the most des tructive, and potentially the “civilization killers”. Additionally, the Earth regularly passes through the debris field of short-period comets giving us the annual meteoroid showers such as the Leonids and Taurids. These are very predictable but thankfully benign impact events. If the Earth were to encounter sizable objects within the debris field of a long-period comet, we would likely have very little warning time and would potentially be confronted with many impactors over a brief period of time. Although this type of event is currently speculative, this is a conceivable scenario which humanity could face. While the risk of a cometary impact is believed to be small, the destruction potential from a single large, high velocity LPC is much greater than from a NEA. Therefore, it is important to address their detection and potential methods for deflecting, disrupting, or mitigating the effects before one impacts the Earth.
Detection of Long-Period Comets Long-period comets (

And most recent studies show a high risk of an incoming asteroid

Easterbrook, 8 [Gregg, American writer, lecturer, and a senior editor of The New Republic June 2008, Atlantic Magazine, “ The Sky Is Falling,” http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2008/06/the-sky-is-falling/6807]
Breakthrough ideas have a way of seeming obvious in retrospect, and about a decade ago, a Columbia University geophysicist named Dallas Abbott had a breakthrough idea. She had been pondering the craters left by comets and asteroids that smashed into Earth. Geologists had counted them and concluded that space strikes are rare events and had occurred mainly during the era of primordial mists. But, Abbott realized, this deduction was based on the number of craters found on land—and because 70 percent of Earth’s surface is water, wouldn’t most space objects hit the sea? So she began searching for underwater craters caused by impacts rather than by other forces, such as volcanoes. What she has found is spine-chilling: evidence that several enormous asteroids or comets have slammed into our planet quite recently, in geologic terms. If Abbott is right, then you may be here today, reading this magazine, only because by sheer chance those objects struck the ocean rather than land. Abbott believes that a space object about 300 meters in diameter hit the Gulf of Carpentaria, north of Australia, in 536 A.D. An object that size, striking at up to 50,000 miles per hour, could release as much energy as 1,000 nuclear bombs. Debris, dust, and gases thrown into the atmosphere by the impact would have blocked sunlight, temporarily cooling the planet—and indeed, contemporaneous accounts describe dim skies, cold summers, and poor harvests in 536 and 537. “A most dread portent took place,” the Byzantine historian Procopius wrote of 536; the sun “gave forth its light without brightness.” Frost reportedly covered China in the summertime. Still, the harm was mitigated by the ocean impact. When a space object strikes land, it kicks up more dust and debris, increasing the globalcooling effect; at the same time, the combination of shock waves and extreme heating at the point of impact generates nitric and nitrous acids, producing rain as corrosive as battery acid. If the Gulf of Carpentaria object were to strike Miami today, most of the city would be leveled, and the atmospheric effects could trigger crop failures around the world. What’s more, the Gulf of Carpentaria object was a skipping stone compared with an object that Abbott thinks whammed into the Indian Ocean near Madagascar some 4,800 years ago, or about 2,800 B.C. Researchers generally assume that a space object a kilometer or more across would cause significant global harm: widespread destruction, severe acid rain, and dust storms that would darken the world’s skies for decades. The object that hit the Indian Ocean was three to five kilometers across, Abbott believes, and caused a tsunami in the Pacific 600 feet high—many times higher than the 2004 tsunami that struck Southeast Asia. Ancient texts such as Genesis and the Epic of Gilgamesh support her conjecture, describing an unspeakable planetary flood in roughly the same time period. If the Indian Ocean object were to hit the sea now, many of the world’s coastal cities could be flattened. If it were to hit land, much of a continent would be leveled; years of winter and mass starvation would ensue. At the start of her research, which has sparked much debate among specialists, Abbott reasoned that if colossal asteroids or comets strike the sea with about the same frequency as they strike land, then given the number of known land craters, perhaps 100 large impact craters might lie beneath the oceans. In less than a decade of searching, she and a few colleagues have already found what appear to be 14 large underwater impact sites. That they’ve found so many so rapidly is hardly reassuring. Other scientists are making equally unsettling discoveries. Only in the past few decades have astronomers begun to search the nearby skies for objects such as asteroids and comets (for convenience, let’s call them “space rocks”). What they are finding suggests that near-Earth space rocks are more

numerous than was once thought, and that their orbits may not be as stable as has been assumed. There is also reason to think that space rocks may not even need to reach Earth’s surface to cause cataclysmic damage. Our solar system appears to be a far more dangerous place than was previously believed. The received

wisdom about the origins of the solar system goes something like this: the sun and planets formed about 4.5 billion years ago from a swirling nebula containing huge amounts of gas and dust, as well as relatively small amounts of metals and other dense substances released by ancient supernova explosions. The sun is at the center; the denser planets, including Earth, formed in the middle region, along with many asteroids—the small rocky bodies made of material that failed to incorporate into a planet. Farther out are the gas-giant planets, such as Jupiter, plus vast amounts of light elements, which formed comets on the boundary of the solar system. Early on, asteroids existed by the millions; the planets and their satellites were bombarded by constant, furious strikes. The heat and shock waves generated by these impacts regularly sterilized the young Earth. Only after the rain of space objects ceased could life begin; by then, most asteroids had already either hit something or found stable orbits that do not lead toward planets or moons. Asteroids still exist, but most were assumed to be in the asteroid belt, which lies between Mars and Jupiter, far from our blue world. As for comets, conventional wisdom held that they also bombarded the planets during the early eons. Comets are mostly frozen water mixed with dirt. An ancient deluge of comets may have helped create our oceans; lots of comets hit the moon, too, but there the light elements they were composed of evaporated. As with asteroids, most comets were thought to have smashed into something long ago; and, because the solar system is largely void, researchers deemed it statistically improbable that those remaining would cross the paths of planets. These standard assumptions—that remaining space rocks are few, and that encounters with planets were mainly confined to the past—are being upended. On March 18, 2004, for instance, a 30-meter asteroid designated 2004 FH—a hunk potentially large enough to obliterate a city—shot past Earth, not far above the orbit occupied by telecommunications satellites. (Enter “2004 FH” in the search box at Wikipedia and you can watch film of that asteroid passing through the night sky.) Looking at the broader picture, in 1992 the astronomers David Jewitt, of the University of Hawaii, and Jane Luu, of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, discovered the Kuiper Belt, a region of asteroids and comets that starts near the orbit of Neptune and extends for immense distances outward. At least 1,000 objects big enough to be seen from Earth have already been located there. These objects are 100 kilometers across or larger, much bigger than whatever dispatched the dinosaurs; space rocks this size are referred

900 years ago would probably have approached at a shallow angle. Ten years ago. the best-documented Paleo-Indian culture. and everything that revolves around it. several billion years after the formation of the solar system. not at nearby space. but if people had not seen the flashes. asteroids. and the little meteors that form pleasant shooting stars approach Earth at great speeds—at least 25. If. what he thought the risk was. But what if most impacts don’t leave craters? This is the prospect that troubles Boslough. and others. an asteroid with a slight chance of striking Earth in April 2036. Apophis is also small by asteroid standards. is exposed. then this is another reason to fear that the conventional thinking seriously underestimates the frequency of space-rock strikes—the small number of craters may be lulling us into complacency. as Boslough thinks. But if large numbers of comets and asteroids are still around. There’s still more bad news. Right now. so the mini–Ice Age probably was not solely responsible for their extinction. extreme volcanic activity—arose from conditions that have changed and no longer pose much threat. Ailor’s answer: a one-in-10 chance per century of a dangerous spaceobject strike. If the Oort Cloud does exist. they believe. Of the recently discovered nearby space objects. conducted with equipment designed to look deep into the heavens. During the past few decades. The solar system may periodically pass close to stars or groups of stars whose gravitational pull affects the Oort Cloud. clues to the calamity were subtle and hard to come by. and the picture gets even bleaker.000 years. part of NASA. especially small ones. toward the inner planets. a think tank for the Air Force. large objects are more likely to reach Earth’s surface. were based on extensive examinations of soil samples from across the continent. though hotly disputed by other researchers. and traveled to the remote area to photograph the scorched. recently concluded that the Tunguska object was surprisingly small. Mark Boslough. But no obvious crater resulted. the Tunguska rock did plenty of damage. Not until the 1980s did scientists begin systematically searching for asteroids near Earth. if a space rock were hurtling toward a city. the city would no longer exist. The angle at which objects enter the atmosphere also matters: an asteroid or comet approaching straight down has a better chance of hitting the surface than one entering the atmosphere at a shallow angle. Even if space strikes are likely only once every million years. heard the detonation.900 years ago spelled the end for saber-toothed cats and Clovis society. from friction. Mammoths and other species might have been killed either by the impact itself or by starvation after their food supply was disrupted. But if that’s the case. researchers began to say that the threat was greater: perhaps a strike every 300. shaking comets and asteroids loose from their orbital moorings and sending them downward. in 1908.000 miles per hour. They have been finding them in disconcerting abundance. The object or objects that may have detonated above Canada 12. it’s like the entire human race is riding on the plane. exploded high above Canada 12. in strata from that era. hail from the relatively nearby Kuiper Belt. saber-toothed cats. lacking the beauty of comets or the significance of planets and stars. Extrapolating from recent discoveries. And as Nathan Myhrvold. nearly all the thinking about the risks of space-rock strikes has focused on counting craters. In other words.900 years ago. A millennia-long mini–Ice Age also may have been a factor. By the mid-1990s. The blast had hundreds of times the force of the Hiroshima bomb and devastated an area of several hundred square miles. but humanity is sure to survive the former.000 times the force of the Hiroshima bomb—enough to destroy an area the size of France.jpl.neo. as the latter would have to plow through more air. some astronomers have theorized that the movement of the solar system within the Milky Way varies the gravitational stresses to which the sun.jpl. After all. heating up and compressing as it descended. but this does not prevent us from caring about aviation safety. at about the same time? Their population stretched as far south as Mexico. The Jet Propulsion Laboratory.nasa. Investigation of the Kuiper Belt has just begun. A generation ago. by 2000. but it could hit with about 60. but there appear to be substantially more asteroids in this region than in the asteroid belt. small asteroids may be more dangerous than we used to think—and may do considerable damage even if they don’t reach Earth’s surface. perhaps only 30 meters across. whereas comets whose return periods are longer originate in the Oort Cloud. because they decelerate rapidly. we’d never know the Tunguska event had happened. an asteroid specialist at The Aerospace Corporation. scientists found widely distributed soot and also magnetic grains of iridium. 244 near-Earth space rocks one kilometer across or more—the size that would cause global calamity— were known to exist. Comets. And because most space-rock searches to date have been low-budget affairs. As buffs of the television show The X Files will recall. the actual number of impact risks is undoubtedly much higher.000 years ago. This winter.” . The detonation. which swing past the sun frequently. Siberia. Perhaps a comet or two exploding above Canada 12. the standard assumption was that a dangerous object would strike Earth perhaps once in a million years. no predictor. These conclusions. wouldn’t they by now be in stable orbits—ones that rarely intersect those of the planets? Maybe not. whether it would leave a crater would not be the issue—the explosion would be the issue. astronomers are nervously tracking 99942 Apophis. and something killed off some 96 percent of the world’s marine species about 250 million years ago. the figure had risen to 170. of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. regarding them as a lesser class of celestial bodies. an element that is rare on Earth but common in space. The cause was not a malfunctioning alien star-cruiser but a small asteroid or comet that detonated as it approached the ground. recently announced the discovery of evidence that one or two huge space rocks. thought to contain as many as trillions of comets. and disrupted climate patterns so severely that it triggered a prolonged period of global cooling. many large animals of North America started disappearing—woolly mammoths. now 741 are. Exploding in the air.388. By 1990. only 86 near-Earth asteroids and comets were known to exist. A team of researchers led by Richard Firestone. of course. flattened wasteland. Some astronomers now think that short-period comets. and compress. Equally important. the likelihood of an event is. that doesn’t mean a million years will pass before the next impact—the sky could suddenly darken tomorrow. Iridium is the meteor-hunter’s lodestar: the discovery of iridium dating back 65 million years is what started the geologist Walter Alvarez on his pathbreaking theory about the dinosaurs’ demise. a researcher at the Sandia National Laboratory. what explains the disappearance of the Clovis People. Until recently. compared with the rest of the heavens. keeps a running tally at www. it was 921. Beyond the Kuiper Belt may lie the hypothesized Oort Cloud. most asteroids and comets explode before reaching the ground. each perhaps several kilometers across. Plus.gov/stats. Click here to find out more! In 1980. improbable but cataclysmic dangers ought to command attention because of their scope. Many space rocks explode under this stress. a huge explosion occurred above Tunguska.neo. asteroids are hard to spot—they move rapidly. just a century ago. As they enter the atmosphere they heat up. and even the nearby ones are fainter than other objects in space. Earth has experienced several mass extinctions—the dinosaurs died about 65 million years ago. mastodons. perhaps 300 meters across. Regardless of which estimate is correct.000 potentially hazardous asteroids and comets in the general vicinity of Earth. the number of extant comets is far greater than was once believed. It’s a comforting notion—but what about the mass extinction that occurred close to our era? About 12. NASA has classified 186 as “impact risks” (details about these rocks are at www. NASA estimates that there are perhaps 20. put it. A more recent event gives further cause for concern. A tornado is far more likely than an asteroid strike. Had the explosion occurred above London or Paris. the former chief technology officer of Microsoft. it is 5. Scientists have generally assumed that whatever caused those long-ago mass extinctions—comet impacts.gov/risk). Consider objects that are already near Earth. caused widespread fires and dust clouds. in New Mexico. which may need a new name. “The odds of a space-object strike during your lifetime may be no more than the odds you will die in a plane crash—but with space rocks. as of this writing. in California. I asked William Ailor. Astronomers traditionally spent little time looking for asteroids. The chances that any one person will die in an airline crash are minute.nasa. Some scientists have speculated that Paleo-Indians may have hunted some of the creatures to extinction.to as “planet killers” because their impact would likely end life on Earth.

scientific advancement . That results in a flux of 200 fewer dead a year from the chance of the Earth population being destroyed by asteroids. “Revisiting Project Orion”. plasma.or flu-reducing taxes associated with using it) unless they get something in exchange. Those people won’t pay for it (and any pollution. Nuclear Engineering. Associate Professor of nuclear. ngoetz) A single or multiple pulse detonations of nuclear fission.You must take the chance on Orion – it would save billions of lives from asteroids and spur massive economic growth Dinkin 05 (Sam. “NUCLEAR DEFENSE AGAINST STELLAR OBJETS. fission/fusion or fusion devices can be used to easily alter the trajectory of the planetesimal from its collision course with Earth.” https://netfiles. A trip on Orion will generate economic growth. This approach does not require any unrealistic asteroid capture or attachment of a propulsion unit to an unreachable surface that could be rotating. and yield and type of the pulse unit. regular columnist at The Space Review.D. versus electronic switches that prevent each car from exceeding the speed limit. . Two stages occur in the process. There are people willing to pay a lot of money to take a trip on Orion or use it to found a colony. Ph. Like a firing squad where there is a chance that everyone has a blank. the illumination of its surface by the prompt x-rays and gamma rays traveling at the speed of light from the pulse would cause ablation of the surface and generate thrust that is parallel to the object’s projected area. you can use the money collected to make the roads safer and reduce the overall death rate from highway accidents. detonation standoff distance.thespacereview. Richard Posner says we should count extra because we would be saving the species.edu/mragheb/www/NPRE%20402%20ME%20405%20Nuclear%20Power %20Engineering/Nuclear%20Defense%20Against%20Stellar%20Objects. with insignificant gravity. This would be followed by a second wave consisting of the plasma of fission products producing a second impulse in the same direction. An analogy is that if you set the fines for speeding in a sports car high enough. and radiological engineering.com/article/309/1. it is possible that no one will die due to the Orion launch. SS) Here are a few of many reasons why to embrace the risk: Orion can lead to anti-asteroid operational capability decades ahead of anything else. How would the diffuse benefit of hundreds—or billions—of lives saved or improved due to success of Orion stack up to a diffuse risk? Developing EPPP will enable safe fast asteroid deflection Ragheb 10 (12/16/2010. Magdi Ragheb. If an External Pulse Plasma Propulsion (EPPP ) system is used.pdf. January 24 2005.uiuc. independent of its mass distribution or angular momentum if it was rotating in space. and wonder that will extend and enrich many lives in the future. First. The process can be carried out remotely without astronauts being dispatched to carry out the process. it would double as the propulsion means as well the nudging means. It is also suggested that the thrust would be parallel to the object’s projected area. The amount of impulse could be adjusted by the frequency of pulses. http://www.

Morton and G. would probably not provide enough time for adequate trajectory alteration between detection and impact . left us with a feeling that the threat is not worth worrying about. or that the That's like betting on a horse race. R. Because of the limitations of current propulsion technology. though. it may be this limitation of human nature that will determine our fate. these systems would require permanent deployment of interceptors in deep space in order to allow engagement at a sufficient distance from Earth. J. the comet impact scenario has taken on a life of its own and the danger of asteroids has been added to the comet count. It’s try-or-die – comet or asteroid impact is inevitable Verschuur 96 (Gerrit. purely ground-based deterrence system. is what will make a difference to our planet and its inhabitants. trajectory and many other properties. Adjunct Professor of Physics – University of Memphis. almost all of which entailed ground and spacebased infra structure more extensive than that envisioned for ballistic missile defense. J. Good risk management would dictate that some effort be placed on devising countermeasures. ngoetz) Application #2: Comet/Asteroid Deflection. The problem may be that the consequences of a comet catastrophe are so horrendous that it is easiest to confront it through denial. an EPPP-propelled interceptor could be launched into space using a conventional chemical launcher. If a likely catastrophic collision were identified. p. The only thing that is certain is that a horse will win. Single or successive pulse detonations at a predetermined distance from the asteroid’s surface could be used to easily “nudge” the planetesimal and alter its course . in the long run. A. In the context of heightened interest in the threat. probability of a collision with objects of sufficient size to cause catastrophic damage or an extinction-scale event. speed.html. for example. I am afraid that we will deal with this potentially mind-expanding discovery in the way we deal with most issues that relate to matters of great consequence. the amount of impulse delivered can be easily tailored to any asteroid by the number of pulses. The way I look at the business of it hardly matters whether the chance of being wiped out next century is 1 in 10. It does not require asteroid capture or attachment of a propulsion unit to a highly variable surface. Bonometti. with the typical result being that the objects burn up in the atmosphere. In addition. these schemes are very risky since their effectiveness depends on the body’s size. EPPP could be applied to the development of a much less expensive. The other and perhaps most compelling application for EPPP is its use in asteroid or comet defense.” http://www. The second wave of pulse fission products would produce another impulse in the same direction. such as sails or electric thrusters. This approach has important advantages. Volume 504. Since the “thrust” is parallel to the object’s projected area.EPPP is crucial to prevent an extinction size asteroid collision – fast interception and safe deflection system Bonometti et al 2k ( 19 January 2000. comet or asteroid impacts are inevitable. Alternatively.com/stars2/projectorion/EPPP. The object’s course change might be performed using sails or electric thrusters. Without exception. That. In the end.angelfire.especially in the case of a comet. or even in the century after that. This is not to criticize their earnest efforts. What matters is the larger picture that begins to force itself into our imagination. and type of pulse unit. Impact: The Threat of Comets and Asteroids. Space Technology and Applications International Forum-2000. Also.000 . 1236-1241. pp. if possible. the scientists who have recently offered odds have been careful in making any statement . reassuring predictions have been offered about the likelihood of a civilization-destroying impact in the years to come. but not negligible. The next one may not wipe us out in the coming century. “External Pulsed Plasma Propulsion. Past studies identified a number of possibilities . P. Schmidt. It would have the power density necessary to rapidly travel to the target in time to force the threatening object from its collision course. The first wave of X-rays from the pulse would illuminate the planetesimal’s surface causing ablation and thrust parallel to the object’s projected area. the same EPPP system that propelled the interceptor could be used to move the target. detonation standoff distance. this approach is independent of the object’s relatively indeterminate mass distribution and angular momentum. only to point out that estimates have been attempted for centuries. It could happen next year. . I think that what matters is how we react to this knowledge. we will ignore it until the crisis is upon us. There is little room for error once the target is engaged. and the propulsion systems must operate reliably for very long durations to effect the change. However. but sooner or later it will happen. it is how we react to the idea of an impact that may change the course of human history. It is not the impact itself that may be immediately relevant. 158) In the past few years. However. They have acted in a "responsible" manner and offering odds is that likelihood of a civilization-destroying impact is once in a million years. shape. there is a low. the low-impulse methods of altering the object’s trajectory. Collisions between the Earth and small planetary objects occur frequently.

. and is nothing more than comfort-food-for-thought... NEO is need such probabilistic comfort-food-for-thought for things like Rogue Black Holes and Gamma Bursts where we are still imaginably defenseless.com/concept. “A Million Miles a Day”.existentialrisk. Therefore the next large asteroid impact event is inevitable and expectable. this means being at DefCon 3: lock-cocked and ready to rock. Nick Bostrom. if we look out the window and see a large asteroid 10 seconds away from impact the daily random-chance probability for large asteroid impact will still be one in a billion.. They do have some psychological merit and enable some intuitive 'old lady' wisdom. Consider the current threat of the asteroid Apophis. when anyone says that the probability for large asteroid impact or Extinction by low they are offering nothing more than a metric for hope -. Presentation at the Planetary Defense Conference: Protecting Earth From Asteroids. before we began to master space and tangibly responding this threat of asteroid impact became a real course of action.html. woman and child on the planet. and Director of the Programme on the Impacts of Future Technology at the University of Oxford. Fortunately. vector and position relative to Earth. The only thing these two methodologies have in common is a nomenclature: probability/likelihood/chance.on impact -. All these asteroids are out there. Expect the next one to occur at any time. “The probability for large asteroid impact in the next century is low” does serve that purpose. Doing anything less by design. We can only respond to this threat as these objects present themselves as discrete impending impactors: one Rock at a time. bring our species to extinction.. and good luck.. We can not address 'The Threat of Asteroid Impact' as such. somewhere.. in itself. The same can be said when such abstract reasoning is used to forward the notion that the next asteroid to strike Earth will likely be small. and that inevitable expectability begins. our current technological potential has evolved to a point that if we choose to do so we can deflect all these impact events.org/content.Cause/Effect -Cause/Effect and fifteen billion years later we have this chunk of cosmos weighing in at a couple trillion tons. It is a metric for hope.D. If we are going to concern ourselves with mounting a response and deflecting these objects and no longer tolerate and suffer this threat. However. misleading. Cause/Effect . when it counts the most.a rationally manifest first-order and evergreen tactical definition of this threat Which unfortunately. Forward into the hands and minds of those who have the aptitude and training and experience in using fear to handle fearful things. Given a correspondingly evolved political will. No happy ever after. 2-26... billions of tons and large enough to do catastrophic and potentially irrecoverable damage to the entire planet: call them global civilization killers. Accessed 07-04-2011) . But since these events are aperiodic and random we can not simply trust that If we would expect to deflect the next impact event a deliberate. would be like planning to bring a knife to a gunfight. which has unfortunately served only to obfuscate their semantic value making one seem rational and relevant when it can never be so. With its discovery we abandon the average relative frequency derived annual random-chance probability for a rational conditional-empiric probabilistic threat assessment derived from observing its speed. the probability is in service to illusion. The collective result is expressed in probabilistic terms due only to our inability to meter these characteristics accurately enough to be precise to the point of potential impact. When we consider the occasion of some unpredictable event that may cause us harm and there is nothing tangible we can do to deflect or forestall or stop it from happening. screaming around our solar stand we can only imagine a handful of dubious undeveloped and untested possibilities to defend ourselves with. Until then.” Draft of a Paper published on ExistentialRisk. Game Over. Strategically speaking. Worse: true only in the abstract and as such. When the characterization of the probability can be seen to be tested to be in contradiction with the If we are going to respond to these events. they can be indirectly constructive in illuminating the existential and perpetual nature of the threat. These two probabilistic perceptions are inherently incompatible and unique. on course to the subjective center of the universe. From abstracted averaged relative frequency estimates we can project that over the course of the next 500 million years in the life of Earth we will be struck by approximately 100. we still want to know just how much we should worry about it..this Rock would release the kinetic energy equivalent of one Hiroshima bomb for every man. merely because they are non rational does not make averaged relative frequency derived random-chance probabilities worthless. events in progress. 24/7/52. Err Aff – Reducing existential risk by even a tiny amount outweighs every other impact — the math is conclusively on our side. Large Asteroid Impacts Are Random Events. holds a Ph. Professor in the Faculty of Philosophy & Oxford Martin School. We still there will still be of room for hope.aiaa. 1.com. The averaged relative frequency analysis described any enlightened political consensus will someday develop spontaneously before we are faced with responding to this reality.not rational information constructive to metering a response or making a decision to do so or not.... hair on fire at a million miles a day. If we do eventually choose to respond to this threat. As such.. ex post it must also be seen to be irrelevant ex ante.. Fear reminds us that there are dire negative consequences if we fail. recipient of the 2009 Eugene R..000 or so will be over 1. and its attendant fear. clearly there is no way we can address the dynamics or geometry of the Solar System so there is no systemic objective we can respond to here. above or any derived random-chance statistical probabilistic assessment. would it not be far more relevant to know in which century the probability for large asteroid impact was high and far more effective to orient our thinking this probabilistic perspective can not even pretend to approach providing us with that kind of never be strategically relevant: contribute to the conduct of implementing a response.. Available Online at http://www. If information can be seen to be irrelevant manifest empirical fact of the assessed event it then must also then be seen to be empirically false. and we must therefore still characterize the chance of impact as low.. 10 will be over 10. And as things system. 2011 (“The Concept of Existential Risk. would be strategically meaningless and irrelevant (just how many extinction level events can we afford?). includes the prospect for our extinction.The impact is extinction – high magnitude and aperiodic strikes shatter traditional considerations of “timeframe” and mean we should treat NEO threats as imminent Brownfield 4 (Roger. pageid=406&gTable= Paper&g ID=17092) Once upon a time there was a Big Bang.. millions of tons: only major city to nation killers. this method of assessment will not be relevant. now. Asteroid impact is a randomly occurring existential condition. As individual and discrete impact events they are all.. hope was all we could do. but to also meter how much hope we should invest against the occasion of such events. we must abandon the debilitating sophistry of “The probability for large asteroid impact in the next century is low” in favor of rational random inevitable expectation.. Here.. Today we can do much more... However. it would follow that the strategic expression of the existent risk of asteroid impact in its most likely rational postulate would be for one and only one large asteroid to be on course to strike Earth in the next 100 years. Fifty years ago. 100 to 1. And that impact and random both their occasion and magnitude. is irrelevant . There is simply no empirical logic or rational argument that this could not be the next asteroid to strike Earth or that the next impact event could not happen tomorrow. And when there is nothing else we can do about it only then is it wise to mitigate fear. Director of the Future of Humanity Institute.000 meters. As Apophis approaches this point the observations and resulting metrics become increasingly accurate and the conditional-empiric probability will process to resolve into a certainty of either zero or one. as a product of random-chance. the chance that it will happen can be characterized as low.000 asteroids the distribution of these events is completely aperiodic Most will be relatively small. There is nothing we have actually prepared to do in response to this event. The Probability is Low: As a risk assessment: “The probability for large asteroid impact in the next century is low”. trillions of tons and on impact massive enough to that will warrant our consideration. after we have done everything we can possibly do to deflect it. http://www. now. If we expect our technological abilities to develop and continue to shape our nascent and still politically tacit will to respond to this threat: if we are to build an effective Planetary from when it will not to when it will occur? But information. prepared to defend the planet and mankind from the worst case scenario... slight-of-mind. We need to quantify chance not only in in case we can prepare or safeguard or insure against potentially recoverable consequences after the fact.. And then. Nothing more needs to happen for them to go on to eventually strike Earth. Of those.. forever. No Joy.000 meters in diameter. we must allow a rational and warranted fear of extinction by asteroid impact to drive a rational and warranted response to this threat forward. it can Defense. Gaishiled Project. From an empirical analysis of the dynamics and geometry of our solar system we have come to understand that the prospect of an Earth/asteroid collision is a primal and ongoing process: a solar systemic status quo that is unlikely to change in the lifetime of our species..000 meters. discrete and nonconstructive to each other. This assessment is meaningless. But if we expect to punctuate the political equilibrium and develop the capability to effectively respond to the existential threat of asteroid impact. in Philosophy from the London School of Economics. This leads us to little more than a hope based Planetary Defense.. Whereas the random-chance probability is unaffected by whether Apophis strikes Earth or not. already.. Say the daily random-chance probability for large asteroid impact is one in a billion. However. Given that the most critically relevant strategic increment can be narrowly defined as the next “evergreen” 100 years. Hope mitigates fear. Gannon Award for the Continued Pursuit of Human Advancement.cfm? Left to its own fate -. This leaves us the only aspect of this threat we can respond to . orbiting the sun.. If we are ever to respond to this threat well then we must begin thinking about this threat better. Restart Darwin's clock… again.. we can effectively manage this threat to the survival of our species. And because in any given increment of time the chance that an impact will not happen is far greater than it will.. rational punctuated equilibrium of our sociopolitical will is required now. Fear focuses the mind. By any definition this is an existential threat. Today we can hold our hope for when the time comes to successfully deflect.

One lower bound of the number of biological human life-years in the future accessible universe (based on current cosmological estimates) is 1034 years. Which is the greater of these two differences? Most people believe that the greater difference is between (1) and (2). If we do not destroy mankind. over the last century. But according to the latest research. we find that these horrible events of the past century fail to register (figure 3). we find that the expected loss of an existential catastrophe is greater than the value of 1018 human lives. what has occurred so far is only a fraction of a second. … The Earth will remain habitable for at least another billion years. One might think we could get a grip on how bad an existential catastrophe would be by considering some of the worst historical disasters we can think of—such as the two world wars. This implies that the expected value of reducing existential risk by a mere one millionth of one percentage point is at least ten times the value of a billion human lives. One gets a large number even if one confines one’s consideration to the potential for biological human beings living on Earth. The difference between (2) and (3) may thus be the difference between this tiny fraction and all of the rest of this history.dailygalaxy. 2007. the two world wars. [Graphic Omitted] Figure 3: World population Holding probability constant. However. further. or the Holocaust—and then imagining something just a bit worse.html. their significance lies primarily in the fact that they would destroy the future. existential risks are thus more serious than other risk categories. injustice. that the absolute value of the indirect effect of saving 1 billion lives on the total cumulative amount of existential risk—positive or negative—is almost certainly larger than the positive value of the direct benefit of such an action. and the Holocaust scarcely register.For any fixed probability. then the potential exist for at least 1018 human lives. as we now can.000 near-Earth objects identified to date. and various biological limitations that could be partly overcome through continuing technological and moral progress.(4)[11] If we make the less conservative assumption that future civilizations could eventually press close to the absolute bounds of known physics (using some as yet unimagined technology). we find that the expected value of reducing existential risk by a mere one billionth of one billionth of one percentage point is worth a hundred billion times as much as a billion human lives. and (3) would be worse than (2). What makes existential catastrophes especially bad is not that they would show up robustly on a plot like the one in figure 3.000 miles of smacking into all in the same week—you know asteroids present a real risk.they ignore small asteroids and all comets Sato ‘8 (Rebecca Sato is a science journalist and editor of The Daily Galaxy. These lives could also be considerably better than the average contemporary human life. (10: 453-454) To calculate the loss associated with an existential catastrophe. these few thousand years may be only a tiny fraction of the whole of civilized human history. we must consider how much value would come to exist in its absence. produces a lower bound of 1054 human-brainemulation subjective life-years (or 1071 basic computational operations). But just how much more serious might not be intuitively obvious.[10] Another estimate. If we compare this possible history to a day. And. Compare three outcomes: (1) Peace. Yet if we look at global population statistics over time. 11. more than twice as many are . (If one stares hard at the graph. and Knighted Cambridge Astrophysicist Sir Martin Rees – Daily Galaxy – Jan 30th -. which is so often marred by disease. this outcome will be much worse than most people think. risks become more serious as we move toward the upper-right region of figure 2. One might consequently argue that even the tiniest reduction of existential risk has an expected value greater than that of the definite provision of any “ordinary” good. Calamities such as the Spanish flu pandemic. Civilization began only a few thousand years ago.http://www. She internally quotes Sandia National Laboratories physicist Mark Boslough. which assumes that future minds will be mainly implemented in computational hardware instead of biological neuronal wetware.) But even this reflection fails to bring out the seriousness of existential risk. If we suppose with Parfit that our planet will remain habitable for at least another billion years. The philosopher Derek Parfit made a similar point with the following thought experiment: I believe that if we destroy mankind. The more technologically comprehensive estimate of 1054 human-brain-emulation subjective life-years (or 1052 lives of ordinary length) makes the same point even more starkly. The asteroid TU24 was discovered by NASA's Catalina Sky Survey on Oct. poverty. causing a precipitous drop in world population or average quality of life. However. Instead. Even if we give this allegedly lower bound on the cumulative output potential of a technologically mature civilization a mere 1% chance of being correct. (2) would be worse than (1). such as the direct benefit of saving 1 billion lives.com/my_weblog/2008/01/theasteroid-ri. It turns out that the ultimate potential for Earth-originating intelligent life is literally astronomical. one can perhaps just barely make out a slight temporary reduction in the rate of growth of the world population during these events.[13] Neg indicts are dated -.) When a large asteroid comes to almost an Earth moon's distance to hitting Earth and another comes within 16. (3) A nuclear war that kills 100% . the Spanish flu pandemic. (2) A nuclear war that kills 99% of the world’s existing population. we get radically higher estimates of the amount of computation and memory storage that is achievable and thus of the number of years of subjective experience that could be realized. and we assume that at least one billion people could live on it sustainably. and is only one of an estimated 7. I believe that the difference between (2) and (3) is very much greater.[12] Even if we use the most conservative of these estimates. the relevant figure is not how many people could live on Earth but how many descendants we could have in total. which entirely ignores the possibility of space colonization and software minds. we’re still in the early stages of understanding the risks that asteroids poise.

have determined that there is no real possibility of an impact with Earth in the foreseeable future. but there are many others out there. "We have good images of a couple dozen objects like this.. Put dense development along the coastlines of economically prosperous areas and you open yourself to the threat of tsunamis and earthquakes emmanating from a wide variety of impact areas. He says a clearer understanding would help policymakers decide whether to try to deflect an asteroid. But the fireball did not reach the ground. an academic exercise in how orbits are calculated and refined." Boslough said. comets are much more dangerous than asteroids.000 years. 7 [Paul. The speed of a comet approaches a much faster 70 km per second . Sweden’s long coastline thus places it in high danger economically.” Nuclear war Auslin and Lachman. but those at the epicenter remained standing. But hey. While it only flattened unpopulated forest." said Mike Nolan. while an impact in the north Atlantic could send devastating tsunamis into both Europe and America. Most of the asteroids in our Solar System are found in the asteroid belt between and Jupiter. Sir Martin Rees of Cambridge University. A sustained downturn poses grave and possibly immediate threats to Chinese internal stability. he says. though obviously a direct hit on any heavily populated area would be catastrophic. frequent enough that the next one that does hit will probably fit this description. Modeling potential impact points all over the planet.“ The Global Economy Unravels." Even so. 9 [Michael Auslin is a resident scholar and Desmond Lachman is a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute. the asteroid that destroyed the forest at Tunguska in Siberia in June 1908 was considerably smaller than TU24. The University’s Nick Bailey presented the results at the recent Planetary Defense Conference in Washington. It shows that the center of the asteroid's mass exploded above the ground. The asteroid that exploded over Siberia a century ago. "it would have had really different effects on the ground.000 labor uprisings a year. The regime in . Severe economic effects would clearly result from a strike involving China or Japan. a University of Southampton (UK) team has worked out some stark numbers. A relatively small object of just one and a half km in diameter hitting the Earth would Comets travel a lot faster through space than Asteroids. scientists are paying special attention. which explains why miles of trees outside the epicenter were flattened. economically sound recovery plans suggests that they do not know what to do and are simply hoping for the least disruption. An object of 20 km or more would likely cause mass extinction." Boslough said.forbes. the study sees China. and for about one in 10. Even a small strike triggers economic collapse Glister. and the concurrent decline of trust in free-market systems. Writer.” 3/6/2009. Images of the asteroid were formed using several powerful telescopes. has famously speculated that the asteroid risk is just one of many reasons why humankind has only a 50/50 chance of making it into the next century. This particular space rock is lopsided and estimated to be about 800 feet across. "We really haven't sampled the population enough to know what's out there. Pound for pound. "We can more accurately predict the location of an impact and its . According to supercomputer simulations by Sandia National Laboratories physicist Mark Boslough. editor on astronomy and deep space exploration. we see something we've never seen before.’ Indeed. or evacuate people in its path. just reported that 20 million migrant laborers lost their jobs. But for now Boslough’s new model is the most reliable we have. Boslough’s finding is bad news and it indicates that even smaller asteroids can be more devastating that previously believed. The mere fact that parliaments across the globe. At this point. assuming an oceanic hit. per second. Smaller asteroids approach our planet about three times more frequently than large ones. are unable to make responsible. scientists have no idea how big the overall risk of asteroid impact is. http://www. Alan Harris. Colo. This finding implies a greater danger facing the inhabitants of planet Earth. For this particular asteroid. http://www. a planetary scientist at Space Science Institute in Boulder. The three-dimensional simulation better matches what's known of Tunguska than earlier models have." he noted.org/?p=1146] The potential threat from near-Earth asteroids can sometimes seem purely theoretical. India.com/2009/03/06/global-economyunravels-opinions-contributors-g20. had it exploded over London it could have devastated everything within the M25.” APRIL 3. but asteroids in this size range seem to hit the Earth every 10. Japan and the US as the most vulnerable. The risk of being blindsided by such an object emphasizes our need to develop a space-based observation platform for tracking asteroids of this size. For the ones with orbits bringing them close to Earth. "It's not clear whether a 10-megaton asteroid is more damaging than a Hurricane Katrina. China faced upward of 70. albeit scorched with their branches blown off.centauri-dreams. Indonesia. the smaller objects represented in the Southampton study are largely undetected. Says Bailey: ‘The consequences for human populations and infrastructure as a result of an impact are enormous. Bailey again: “The threat of the Earth being hit by an asteroid is increasingly being accepted as the single greatest natural disaster hazard faced by humanity. Economically speaking. until last year the world's fastest growing economy. But when we start quantifying possible damage from an asteroid strike.000 years. Boslough has spent years trying to better understand what happened at Tunguska. at least we’d go out with a bang. doubling the object to 200 meters causes tsunamis on a global scale. Even so.estimated to exist. Equally worrisome is the adoption of more statist economic programs around the globe. where the infrastructure is tells much of the tale. China.html] What do these trends mean in the short and medium term? The Great Depression showed how social and global chaos followed hard on economic collapse. head of radar astronomy at the Arecibo Observatory. In terms of casualties. the issue becomes a little more vivid. time better than we can a hurricane. So if large asteroids approach about every 1. "Of course there's huge uncertainties. Obviously. left over 800 square miles of scorched or knocked down forest. Although we’re currently engaged through projects like the Spaceguard survey in cataloguing NEOs larger than one kilometer in diameter. Astrophycisist. If the asteroid had been as large as previously thought. Calif. which travel at about 25-30 km release more energy than all the atomic bombs ever detonated and then some. which have nonetheless gotten more media attention." The one that passed by Earth recently is orbiting the sun. Nearly one hundred years ago a remote region near the Tunguska River witnessed the largest asteroid impact event in living memory when a relatively small object (approximately 50 metres in diameter) exploded in mid-air. he says comets are more frightening of a doomsday prospect. The researchers put a software package called NEOimpactor to work on asteroids under one kilometer in diameter and assumed an impact speed of 20 kilometers per second. wasn't nearly as large as previously thought. Even in the flush times of recent years. The latest study suggests that even the more common smaller asteroids poise a serious threat. a smaller one would be about every 300 years. taking the form of a fireball blasting downward faster than the speed of sound. agrees that Boslough's work is “very sound" and will be taken into account when revising estimates of risk and damage of smaller objects in the future. while a 100 meter asteroid could cause relatively localized damage across several countries. but have simply not yet been discovered.. along with providing more accurate information about the movements of larger Earth crossers. scientists at NASA's Near-Earth Object Program Office at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena. larger objects are out there and the impact velocity is arbitary. so you really could get people out of there if it's below a certain threshold. 2007. “Sizing Up the Asteroid Threat. from America to Japan. The threat of instability is a pressing concern.

As Japan's exports have plummeted by nearly 50%. Spain has absorbed five million immigrants since 1999. Hundreds of thousands of temporary employees hired during the first part of this decade are being laid off. as occurred in the 1980s. in Greece. do not bode well for the rest of Europe. including almost 2 million Turks. along with a continuing threatening posture toward Russia's neighbors.Beijing may be faced with a choice of repressing its own people or diverting their energies outward. Spanish unions are already protesting the lack of jobs. Vladimir Putin's rule has been predicated on squeezing civil liberties while providing economic largesse. an oil state completely dependent on energy sales.K. and the specter of violence. Even apparently stable societies face increasing risk and the threat of internal or possibly external conflict. leading to conflict with China's neighbors. If that devil's bargain falls apart. while nearly 9% of Germany's residents have foreign citizenship. . The result may be a series of small explosions that coalesce into a big bang. Europe as a whole will face dangerously increasing tensions between native citizens and immigrants. let alone a collapse. A prolonged global downturn. would dramatically raise tensions inside these countries. Meanwhile. workers have already taken to the streets. has had to put down riots in its Far East as well as in downtown Moscow. who have increased the labor pool in the past several decades. unresolved ethnic and territorial disputes in all regions of the globe and a loss of confidence that world leaders actually know what they are doing. is likely. Couple that with possible protectionist legislation in the United States. Spain's unemployment rate is expected to climb to nearly 20% by the end of 2010. one-third of the country's prefectures have passed emergency economic stabilization plans. is haunting the country. Russia. then wide-scale repression inside Russia. The xenophobic labor strikes in the U. largely from poorer Muslim nations.

uiuc. The exhaust particles velocities would exceed the Earth’s escape velocity and even the solar escape velocity. Morton and G. low energy pulse unit yields. J. R. EPPP can solve this problem with its much higher Isp (5. a rotating cable pusher. “Nuclear And Plasma Space Propulsion. safe. This leaves the crew and equipment exposed to an extremely hostile environment for long periods of time . Ph. The first is its potential for human exploration. This should be compared to the mission time of about 25 months with chemical or other propulsion technologies. matter/antimatter and beamed-energy sails that are under study will be available during the first half of the twentyfirst century. A. if the components can be launched with a transport vehicle to low Earth orbit and assembled there. The propulsion concepts that have been traditionally considered for Mars missions are chemical propulsion based on 02/H2 combustion and solid-core nuclear thermal propulsion. quick and allows us to colonize the entire solar system Ragheb 11 (5/5/2011. There are two reasons for seriously considering EPPP as an option for future development. and radiological engineering. It would also reduce the crew’s exposure to the highly radioactive space environment and long periods of weightlessness. plasma.nominally 560 days surface stays with 170 to 200 day transit times (Kos. which could greatly reduce not only transit time. Solid core nuclear thermal. In a matter of 24 Earth hours. Bonometti. pp. The release of radioactivity in the atmosphere was an unacceptable alternative at the time. The acceleration of the ship is only limited by human and equipment tolerances. since earth launches are about half the mission budget in most conventional scenarios. This stay would be in an extremely hostile environment with 560 days surface stays and 170200 days transit times. which narrows the available trajectories for return and necessitates long stays on the Mars surface waiting for the occurrence of favorable return windows. 1236-1241. Matter/antimatter has low propulsion efficiency and a prohibitive cost of the possible production and storage methods. these objections disappear. It would also provide more flexible return windows and eliminate the need for long stay times in the vicinity of Mars. but permits broader return windows. P. both systems suffer from the same limitations with regards to trip time and mission planning. It has more background radiation in the form of gamma rays than the small pulse units would produce. both of which increase launch requirements.1AC Exploration EPPP allows us to colonize Mars – shorter trip times.” https://netfiles. These include a combined magnetic field and pusher plate. the system’s operation is independent of the reaction rate. “External Pulsed Plasma Propulsion. ngoetz) As initially considered in the Orion project. and better payload Bonometti et al 2k ( 19 January 2000. Although the Isp of nuclear thermal (-900 set) is approximately twice that of chemical (-450 set). where the . This technology is immediately available for space missions. only a negligible amount of effort has been devoted to these type of missions. The main advantage of nuclear thermal is its potential to reduce vehicle mass in low-earth orbit. It is also recognized that common materials can withstand an intense nuclear damage environment over short intervals of time in the nanoseconds range. The physics of fission in a vacuum are simple where a shell of ionized gas with extremely large radial velocities is produced.com/stars2/projectorion/EPPP. Because the reaction is external to the material walls of the vehicle. Research emphasizes low ablation pusher plate designs. Longer missions translate to larger payloads and more expendables. and a large lightweight sail. gas core. The need for high power densities for space missions favors nuclear energy sources. Schmidt. pressure temperature and the fuel characteristics. ngoetz) Application #1: Human Interplanetary Exploration. Imparting high thrust for short periods of time results in fast and efficient trajectories. which restricts its specific impulse values. broader return window. EPPP provides a technology that would allow us to seriously consider missions to the outer planets.” http://www. Cost is also significant. Nuclear Engineering. The result is higher energy transfer orbits. while still providing the high-thrust needed for fast orbit transfers. It would also enable dramatically shorter trip times to Mars and other nearer-term destinations. Although it is recognized in NASA’s Strategic Vision that the ultimate goal is to extend human presence throughout the solar system and eventually the stars. Fusion must await the demonstration of a system possessing sufficient energy gains for commercial and space applications. EPPP is inexpensive. J. Magdi Ragheb. This narrows the available trajectories for return and necessitates long stays on the Mars surface while awaiting favorable return windows. 199 . The latter technologies favor Hohmann type transfers into very slow heliocentric orbital trajectories. There is no guarantee that other technologies such as fusion propulsion. and dedicated space operation out of the Earth’s atmosphere .D. and electrical nuclear propulsion systems have problems with the constraint of the need of containment of a heated gas. the vehicle would be launched from the Earth’s surface. the resulting ionized mass would dissipate in the background space plasma density. Associate Professor of nuclear.edu/mragheb/www/NPRE%20402%20ME%20405%20Nuclear%20Power%20Engineering/Nuclear %20and%20Plasma%20Space%20Propulsion. Beamed energy would require tremendous investments in ground and space based infrastructure. This provides much more flexibility in mission planning and would not constrain the crew to long stay times on the Martian surface. Volume 504. However . Space Technology and Applications International Forum-2000. most human exploration studies have concentrated on either the Moon or Mars.angelfire. Several methods of external momentum coupling have been investigated other than the standard pusher plate. The performance that characterizes these two concepts favors Hohmann-type transfers into very slow heliocentric orbital trajectories. resulting in no residue or permanent contamination above the level caused by the natural radiation from the sun. Since the early years of the space program. The overall advantage is that this approach can yield space vehicle for a Mars mission of duration of just 1-3 months. thus reducing the number of heavy-lift vehicle launches.pdf.html. External pulse systems possess higher temperature limits and lower inert masses and circumvent that limitation.000 to 10. and still remains so. The space environment is already extremely harsh in terms of radiation.000 seconds).

methane. Vol 12. micrometeorites.000 secs. Exploration of the solar system helps us find other civilizations – solves all modern problems Mitchell et al 10 (October-November. Bret G. solar wind.com/Mars105. Robert Staretz. Clearly any civilization that mastered the technological challenges of interstellar travel will most likely be much older and far more advanced than us in many ways that we cannot even conceive. Mitchell.0.“Human Exploration of Mars: Challenges and Design Reference Architecture 5. Edgar D. They will also likely be much wiser in how they utilize their technologies. and more energetic detonations sources.html. nuclear thermal propulsion.000 secs can using fission/fusion and fusion be achieved with larger vehicles. 2010. However. Journal of Cosmology. Reducing the travel time is key to exploration of Mars Drake 10 (October-November..astronauts’ bodies would be ravaged by the effects of a long period of weightlessness and high space radiation.html. Short duration missions on Mars provide by External Plasma Pulse Propulsion would also be associated with lower overall mission costs. Advanced Propulsion Although human expeditions to Mars could be conducted using cryogenic propulsion and aerocapture. Drake.D. 2010. In some cases the hazards on the moon are even more severe than the Martian environment. Sc. M.D. and the ability to store and manage cryogenic fluids for long durations. Apollo 14 Lunar module pilot. Advanced propulsion concepts. perhaps our first order of business should be to find out how they managed to get beyond the civilization threatening technological adolescent stage in which we on Earth are now engaged. ngoetz) 4. would be required.. and hydrogen). it is likely that we will eventually meet other intelligent technological civilizations in this increasingly apparent life friendly universe that we live in if we haven’t already done so. Development and demonstration of advanced.com/Mars104. long-duration transportation concepts to understand their performance and reliability would be a key element in future human exploration missions. living conditions. the moon will be a great laboratory and learning environment for the kinds of obstacles. 2010. Longer missions translate into a need for larger payloads and expandables that need to be launched into space at high cost. For example solar radiation. thus reducing the number of heavy lift vehicle launches.. “Our Destiny – A Space Faring Civilization?” http://journalofcosmology.com/Mars104. These can open up the whole solar system for human exploration and colonization. nuclear propulsion presents a compelling prospect for reducing the mass or travel time required. M.” http://journalofcosmology. including space storable propellants (oxygen. and hazards that will also have to be faced on Mars or more distant venues. “Our Destiny – A Space Faring Civilization?” http://journalofcosmology. When we begin a dialogue with them. in addition to the lurking deadly danger of unforecast solar flares. External Pulse Plasma Propulsion is distinguished by specific impulses in the range of 5. The main advantage here is the reduction of the vehicle mass in low Earth orbit. The knowledge gained and the technologies developed to support permanent bases on the moon will greatly benefit both for our first voyages to Mars as well as the first Martian colonies and even worlds beyond. Ph.D. there is no certainty that we will survive the gathering storm on Earth of the man made challenges to our survival. ngoetz) Establishing a fully self sufficient colony on the moon as a stepping stone to the planets will not come cheaply and may prove not to be feasible at all.. Robert Staretz.html.5. Vol 12. Vol 12. . which is about twice those of chemical propulsion systems in the range of 450 sec.S. Journal of Cosmology. and 500 degree temperature gradients are far more indicative of what our space explorers will experience during the trip to Mars than the extremes that will be encountered on the Martian surface. Mitchell.000-10. Hopefully these civilizations will have solved once and for all many of the dilemmas currently facing humanity.. The specific impulse of nuclear thermal systems is in the range of 900 sec.S. Apollo 14 Lunar module pilot. Sixth person to walk on the Moon. Sixth person to walk on the Moon. If we do endure. ngoetz) Interplanetary exploration aside. Journal of Cosmology. The moon is the key stepping stone to future colonization of Mars and beyond Mitchell et al 10 (October-November. Even higher specific impulses of 100. Sc. Edgar D.

on the moon and Mars protected from the possible unexpected calamities that could extinguish life on Earth. Like the Starship Enterprise we would never in all likelyhood try to land Orions on Earth. Magdi Ragheb. It is urgent to keep backup copies of life." he said. Nuclear Engineering. Wayne Smith. Nothing. plasma. Associate Professor of nuclear.html. We would still need to develop a reusable launch vehicle but it would only need enough fuel to reach orbit.edu/mragheb/www/NPRE%20402%20ME%20405%20Nuclear%20Power%20Engineering/Nuclear %20and%20Plasma%20Space%20Propulsion. conquest and colonization. and radiological engineering. There was a time once when we were all about exploration.D. ngoetz) Unparalleled access to space means we can lift the industrial infrastructure necessary to start using natural space resources for the first time. We could then mine asteroids and build fleets of Orions off Earth where environmental impact studies would be of no concern." You have only to look at the pockmarked moon to realise we can and do occasionally get hit by large bodies. "There is absolutely nothing we could do about it at this point in time. The last frontier is after all an endless ocean of positive particulate radiation. Colorado. humans have a duty to preserve and spread life. "The Case For Orion.uiuc. like we keep for files on computers. as we know has happened in the past.” http://www. founder of NuclearSpace a Pro-Nuclear Space Movement.com/news/nuclearspace-03h. ngoetz) In their role as stewards of life on Earth and perhaps in the whole known universe. "The worst scenario I can think of is a multikilometer-diameter. One Orion launch might be all thats necessary to kick off a new age of space exploration.” https://netfiles. We can now be defined as a civilization that focuses on internal problems that will or can never be completely solved.spacedaily. a senior research scientist at the Southwest Research Institute in Boulder. With their acquired intelligence. Ph. They would act as interplanetary ferries.pdf. 2003. . it is their sacred destiny to preserve life with the equivalent of Noah’s Arks on both the moon and Mars. An Orion type space ship would start a new age of space exploration – key to avoid extinction by asteroids or inevitable internal problems Smith 3 (Mar 12. construction and fuel processing industries in space would ensure that abundant fuel stops in the form of space stations would exist for return journeys. Survival should be a strong motivator for us even if our exploratory urge has diminished.Colonization solves extinction – unexpected calamities Ragheb 11 (5/5/2011. “Nuclear And Plasma Space Propulsion. Life can be subject to extinction on Earth either from within through volcanic eruptions or viral epidemics or from astral assailants as asteroid or comets impacts from space. Our newly acquired mining. Perhaps one of the best arguments for allowing nuclear power to increase our foothold in space is provided by Daniel Durda. long-period comet discovered several months out on an impact trajectory as it is entering the inner solar system. science and technology.

Is China's space exploration a military strategy? Meanwhile. 2010: N. Japan. referring to the military and space spending that helped hasten the decline of the Soviet regime. China hopes to avoid any such last-minute surprises with better reconnaissance photos. The Asian space race Compared with the American and Soviet mad dashes into space in the late 1950s and '60s. accelerating the militarization of space. and they are going as per the pace which they can go. "A moon landing hasn't been attempted since the cold war. but was forced to return to a more stable.5 miles above the moon's surface. The Pentagon notes that China. has valuable potential military offshoots.PAG. a mission with a NASA payload that helped confirm the presence of water on the moon. Japan is also mulling a moonshot. China is looking for a good "parking space" for a moon lander. called Chang'e 2 after a heroine from Chinese folklore who goes to the moon with a rabbit.org/IS/2004/IS-Garibaldi-0704. India put the Chandrayaan 1 spacecraft into lunar orbit in 2008. he said. an expert on Asian space programs at the Institute for Defense Studies and Analysis in New Delhi.S. not a sprint.1AC Leadership China is making strategic. China will be able to reach the Moon within three to four years and eventually aiming for Mars in the future.htm> apanday) The Chinese lunar plans and American anxieties This information has led the USA to seriously examine the Chinese space challenge. long-term. and interfering with the enemy's reconnaissance … and communications satellites. is going to decide to make similarly persistent investments to sustain its lead in space. Adams. Both Japan's and India's recent missions have been plagued by glitches and technical problems. If successful. it will put China a nose ahead of its Asian rivals with similar lunar ambitions – India and Japan – and signal a challenge to the American post-cold-war domination in space. < http://www. and with its budget constraints. missile technology." he says. or the United States. "They understand the value of money and investment. July 20. which would allow them to see moon features such as rocks as small as one-meter across. Basically. Lele said the most significant aspect of the Chang'e 2 mission was the attempt at a 9. according to Chinese media." During the famed 1969 Apollo 11 manned mission to the moon. As a freelance analyst. With China slowly but surely laying the groundwork for a long-term lunar presence. and antisatellite warfare through missions like Chang'e 2. highlights China's rapidly growing technological prowess. Jonathan. The security implications of China's space program are not lost on India. a difficult feat. but President Obama appears to have put off the notion of a manned return to the moon. China looks set to pull ahead in the Asian space race to the moon. "They started earlier. moves towards space modernism The U. EBSCO. followed by establishing a permanent base within a decade. "They [the Chinese] will require huge amounts of data on landing grounds. like all space programs. so it can take high-resolution photos of a possible landing site. Web. "PLA writings emphasize the necessity of 'destroying. Mr. 125-mile-high orbit. some in the US see China's moon program as evidence that it has a long-range strategic view that's lacking in Washington. Chinese engineers will maneuver the craft into an extremely low orbit. astronaut Neil Armstrong had to take control of the lander in the last moments of descent to avoid large moon boulders strewn around the landing site." But he acknowledged China's edge over India. as well as its keen desire for prestige on the world stage." says Dean Cheng. China's space program is controlled by the People's Liberation Army (PLA). and they're ahead of us at this time. "I have to wonder whether the United States. Academic Search Premier. must act or be left behind. China is engaged in an aggressive space program focused on a Moon landing.taiwansecurity. some have pointed out that China's moonshot. "All of these countries witnessed the cold war. According to Japanese experts. concerned with far more terrestrial issues. some fear the US may one day find itself lapped –"like the tale of the tortoise and the hare. in a less-known area of the moon known as the Bay of Rainbows. and has branched out into other space exploration. and despite the American advantage." Christian Science Monitor 28 Oct. It will be sufficient for it to spend 1% of its GDP over the next few years in order to provide the financing for a significantly competitive space . "China is on path to 'militarization of space'.5-mile-high orbit." the Pentagon said in its latest annual report to Congress on China's military power. India's own lunar orbiter descended to about 60 miles in 2008." Development of nuclear plasma propulsion key to maintain US dominance over the Chinese space program Garibaldi 4 (Gabriele Garibaldi. however." said Lele. 6 in a preparatory mission for an unmanned moon landing in two or three years. According to Robert Walker. A low orbit will allow for better scouting of future landing sites. Its last lunar orbiter shared the moon with China's first in 2007. through its space program. said Lele. he introduced the Italian public to the issue of "space weaponization" by publishing a book and several articles in all the most influential Italian reviews of international relations. 2004 “Chinese Threat to American Leadership in Space” Security Dialogue. is exploring ways to exploit the US military's dependence on space in a conflict scenario – for example.' " More broadly. which is steadily gaining experience in remote communication and measurement. knocking out US satellites in the opening hours of a crisis over Taiwan. while China's have gone relatively smoothly. damaging. putting a spacecraft into lunar orbit Oct. former president of the Commission on the future of the American aerospace industry. holds an MIA from the University of Pisa. The US has a reconnaissance satellite in lunar orbit now. such as the recent Hayabusa mission to an asteroid. they remain nervous about China's next goal on the agenda: the Moon. an expert on China's space program at the Heritage Foundation in Washington. and a manned mission as early as 2020 – roughly the same timetable as China. It plans a moon landing in a few years' time. The mission. and what led to the destruction of the USSR." says Ajey Lele. "China is developing the ability to attack an adversary's space assets. 9. Asia is taking its time – running a marathon.

Today. if it succeeded in its goal.html) However. Nevertheless . it represents a serious challenge to the US leadership in Space. “Kennedy launched America on a new ocean. the voyage is over. on the other hand. American space leadership is slipping. Walker's conclusion is that the Chinese space program has yet to be taken seriously by American politicians. China would gain the ability to exploit lunar resources and therefore gain important technological advantages over other nations (including nuclear fusion. “Congress has mandated the development of rocket launchers and spacecraft to explore the near-solar system beyond Earth orbit. Kennedy would have been sorely disappointed. space leadership slipping” http://www.. with concrete consequences on Earth's activities. a coherent plan for maintaining America's leadership in space exploration is no longer apparent. at least according to Walker. The US must answer such a challenge by developing new technologies (for instance. “today America's leadership in space is slipping. John F.yourhoustonnews. However. they continue. For 50 years we explored the waters to become the leader in space exploration. most significantly. by establishing permanent bases on the Moon.program. NASA's human spaceflight program is in substantial disarray with no clear-cut mission in the offing. under the announced objectives.com/bay_area/news/article_9857fa1d-60e9-511c-81a7-e7eb08e87c1f.S.” . would acquire enormous international prestige. and to travel more frequently and thriftily into Earth's low orbit. But NASA has not yet announced a convincing strategy for their use. using the helium 3 isotope). After a halfcentury of remarkable progress. the nuclear plasma propulsion system) in order to reach the Moon and Mars faster than currently possible. This inability to compete in a new Moon race is more than an issue of national pride: it also raises serious strategical questions over China's rising potential as a lunar power.lack of effective propulsion Houston News 3/29/11 (“Moon men: U.S. The U. China. We will have no rockets to carry humans to low-Earth orbit and beyond for an indeterminate number of years. is no longer able to repeat the Moon mission of thirty-five years ago.

Space technologies and applications are essential in our everyday lives.org/spacewatch/articles/id/880//SB) America's space exploration has meant much more than just going to space. The key to continuing U. United States ambassador to Afghanistan. More than seven months after President Obama signed this bill into law. And this has helped make America prosperous.S. http://newsletters. “The Economy and National Security” 2-8.S. expanding each year into new areas of human activity. Space products and services are an integral part of daily life. The ability of industry to meet the needs of U. it is not a question of whether but when a new international order will emerge. while also helping to make our nation one of the most advanced and powerful in history. enable us to dare greatly and achieve our goals and propel us confidently into the future. development and use of space really does inspire our nation and the world. Weather and remote sensing satellites provide lifesaving warnings and recurring global measurements of our changing Earth. “Maintain U. http://www.S. U. we have never failed to achieve our capacity for greatness.P. our leadership must recognize space as a national priority and robustly fund its programs. technological and economic security. cutting back on exploration investments is a penny-wise but pound-foolish approach that will have an infinitesimal impact on the budget deficit. To our nation’s competitiveness. airliners and automobiles depend on communications and GPS satellites. Aerospace Industries Association. The technology we've developed to get there has led to new innovations.S. [6/11-. Over the past six years.Space tech leads to spin-offs that form the backbone of U. U.S.S. Vice President. Space Systems. aeronautics. congested and competitive. In modern history. Senate Subcommittee on Science and Space Chairman Senator Bill Nelson (D-Fla. commercialand national security — drive innovation.S. global leadership in space”. while also recognizing current budgetary constraints. new breakthroughs and new discoveries. Aerospace Industries Association.Elliot Pulham is Space Foundation Chief Executive Officer. Space leadership is critical to overall hegemony. Developing this intellectual capacity requires inspiring.com/articles/259024/economy-and-national-security-zalmay-khalilzad?page=1 If U. leadership and innovation PULHAM ET AL 11. vice president of space systems. space efforts — civil. education and human space flight exploration. the arena is increasingly contested. Frank Slazer. Doing the hard things requires our best and brightest minds.S. I'm worried that NASA's inaction and indecision in making this transition could hurt America's space leadership . Absent this. Last year. space programs depends on a healthy industrial base. I am concerned NASA is not moving forward with implementing it with the urgency it requires. and the United Nations. The closing of the gap between the United States and its rivals could intensify geopolitical competition among major powers. “ Space Foundation CEO Testifies in Washington”.): Our space program has produced tens of thousands of scientists.aiaaerospace. economic growth and maintain U. It has created numerous new companies and tens of thousands of jobs for skilled workers. Pulham: The exploration.S.S. Iraq. the longest period of peace among the great powers has been . That's why we must push forward to keep America at the forefront of an undertaking that benefits all of humanity. But global space employment has been stable over the past couple of years. Other nations are learning the value of space systems. It was a vision that enabled ambitious investments in science.nationalreview. challenging and exciting work to do.S. Cutting exploration any further threatens our economic growth potential and risks our continued national technical leadership overall .spacefoundation. with job increases in Japan. space industrial base consists of unique workforce skills and production techniques. U. inspired future generations of scientists and engineers and boosted our economy. preeminence is a cohesive coordination body and a national space strategy. The U.something that would cost us billions of dollars and years to repair.S. Bill Nelson is U. space investments are threatened due to our constrained fiscal environment. mathematicians and engineers. we drafted and passed legislation that laid out a carefully considered bipartisan vision of the best path forward for NASA. The National Review. policymakers fail to act and other powers continue to grow. Germany and other nations offsetting job losses in the United States. Senate Subcommittee on Science and Space Chairman Senator.from $164 billion in 2004 to $276 billion in 2010. preeminence in this sector and to allow space to act as a technological driver for current and future industries. When America has made that investment. India. Space Foundation. While cutting the federal deficit is essential to assuring our economic future. It is critical that we maintain our space leadership. National security and military operations are deeply dependent upon space assets. the global space economy has grown by 48 percent . Slazer: Space programs are essential to our national. increase incentives for local powers to play major powers against one another.federal government action is key Stevens 10 (J.org/issues_policies/space/maintain//sb) U. business and personal communications as well as emergency responders. The future of U. and undercut our will to preclude or respond to international crises because of the higher risk of escalation.-developed space technology and its many spin-offs have fueled our economy and made us the unquestioned technological leader in the world for two generations. http://www. Banking trarnsactions.S. Leadership prevents power vacuums and avoid extinction Khalizad 11 (Zalmay. Strong government leadership at the highest level is critical to maintaining our lead in space and must be supported by a healthy and innovative industrial sector. leadership in space cannot be taken for granted.even as emerging world powers increase their investments in this important arena. At the same time it has dramatically improved the quality of life for millions here on Earth. the myriad government agencies overseeing these critical systems may make decisions based upon narrow agency requirements. The stakes are high.

hostile states would be emboldened to make aggressive moves in their regions. Taiwan. No sane figure in the Pentagon wants a war with China. deeply divide Japan and probably end in a Chinese victory. Journalist. Such a war would bankrupt the United States. Number 19) China is another matter. whose status constitutes the still incomplete last act of the Chinese civil war. and all serious US militarists know that China's minuscule nuclear capacity is not offensive but a deterrent against the overwhelming US power arrayed against it (twenty archaic Chinese warheads versus more than 7. there would be a heightened possibility of arms races. a misstep in Taiwan by any side could bring the United States and China into a conflict that neither wants. or other crises spiraling into all-out conflict. . multi-polar systems have been unstable. leadership. “Time to Bring the Troops Home.000 US warheads).S. it could easily escalate into a nuclear holocaust. Without an American security blanket. American retrenchment could have devastating consequences. in seeking to accommodate the stronger powers. given the nationalistic challenge to China's sovereignty of any Taiwanese attempt to declare its independence formally. By contrast. Failures of multi-polar international systems produced both world wars.the era of U. Either way.” The Nation. with their competitive dynamics resulting in frequent crises and major wars among the great powers. given that China is the world's most populous country and would be defending itself against a foreign aggressor. China war causes extinction Johnson. Alternatively. regional powers could rearm in an attempt to balance against emerging threats. forward-deployed US forces on China's borders have virtually no deterrent effect. Under this scenario. However. 5-14-2K1 (Chalmers. remains the most dangerous place on earth. Volume 272. More seriously. Much as the 1914 assassination of the Austrian crown prince in Sarajevo led to a war that no one wanted. weaker powers may shift their geopolitical posture away from the United States. miscalculation.

Plan Plan: The United States federal government should develop an Orion type fusion launch vehicle. .

because neutron activation of the air is much less serious. “Nuclear And Plasma Space Propulsion.D. For pure fusion explosions the situation is much more favorable. but not enough thrust for short interplanetary transit times. The plan is cost effective. Ion propulsion. 2) The fusion explosive. is able to respond to totally unexpected experiences. Such an environment is clearly not practical for long-term space travel. thereby making possible manned spaceflight to distant planets. However. Friedwardt Winterberg. This could be the only realistic approach available with present day technology for a Mars mission in the twenty first century. For a history of nuclear bomb propulsion. Chemical propulsion is adequate only for unmanned space probes. Nuclear Engineering. This leaves nuclear bomb propulsion as the only credible option. For manned space flight beyond the moon. winner of the 1979 Hermann Oberth Gold Medal of the Wernher von Braun International Space Flight Foundation. An electron-beam induced pure nuclear fusion micro-explosion propulsion system (project Daedalus) was extensively studied by the British Interplanetary Society [6]. The hotter the . This is one reason why everyone working with fusion is so excited. has a much higher specific impulse.1AC Solvency An Orion type fusion vehicle is the only way to go to the moon mars and beyond Winterberg 8 (March 2008. motivated by the undesirable release of nuclear fission products into the atmosphere . Fusion lets us go to Mars quickly and bring enough people to build a colony – assembly in orbit enables larger rockets Winterberg. The project was brought to a sudden halt by the nuclear test ban treaty. unmanned probes for scientific reasons alone are neither desirable. Research Professor at the University of Nevada.edu/mragheb/www/NPRE%20402%20ME%20405%20Nuclear%20Power%20Engineering/Nuclear %20and%20Plasma%20Space%20Propulsion. PhD in physics. ngoetz) With chemical propulsion manned space flight to the moon is barely possible and only with massive multistage rockets. It is only with fusion propulsion— fission is also inadequate—that manned spaceflight to distant planets will become practical. and the use of fissiontriggered large fusion bomb propulsion for interstellar space flight by Dyson [5]. reference is made to a long article by A. The crucial problem in rocket propulsion is to achieve a very large exhaust velocity. A first step in this direction is the non-fission ignition of thermonuclear micro-explosions. Very high specific impulses and thrust to weight ratios can be obtained by this approach. Apart from some basic considerations. and radiological engineering. Posted online August 7. I rather will focus on three crucially important topics: 1) The architecture of the space craft incorporating the non-fission ignition driver. nuclear propulsion is indispensible.4]. 3)The delivery of the ignition pulse to the fusion explosive. The Moon is relatively near to the Earth. Its history has been published by George Dyson [2]. 2009. and do not require major technological breakthroughs. winner of the 1979 Hermann Oberth Gold Medal of the Wernher von Braun International Space Flight Foundation.” https://netfiles. Research Professor at the University of Nevada. Both its thrust and specific impulse are huge in comparison. “Pure Nuclear Fusion Bomb Propulsion. In nature it happens all the time by cosmic rays. Reno. If we were to attempt to go to Mars with chemical propulsion.” arxiv. it should lead to the non-fission ignition of large thermonuclear explosive devices.3636. safe. 89 (October 1989. Associate Professor of nuclear. the result of this work shall not be repeated here.Martin and A. Ph. Making sure that nothing would go wrong in such a small vehicle traveling for years would be very difficult. Under the name project Orion. technologically feasible today and the only way to get to mars today Ragheb 11 (5/5/2011.pdf. PhD in physics. The intense plasma wave energy transfers its momentum into vehicle acceleration that can be withstood by the structure of the vehicle and its crew. And man not only will be able to explore the solar system. nor can they lead to the goals that we must accomplish. Nuclear thermal propulsion is really not much better than advanced chemical propulsion. with his versatility of mind. needed for manned missions. The key performance parameter is specific impulse or the impulse per unit weight of the rocket propellant. but not with a very large payload.Bond [1]. and the astronauts would have to travel in a spacecraft not much bigger than the interior of a bus. What will we find on Mars or elsewhere in the solar system? Only man. Magdi Ragheb. The idea to use intense relativistic electron or ion-beam induced nuclear micro-explosions for rocket propulsion was proposed by the author [3. expected to be realized in the near future.org/pdf/0803. the son of Freeman Dyson. During project Orion detailed engineering studies about bomb propulsion were made. Their appeal also stems from their low costs and reusability. which other technologies cannot obtain. it would take years. using a nuclear reactor driving an electric generator. he will be able to colonize and industrialize it.” Colonizing Space With Fusion Propulsion. The Apollo program demonstrated that we are able to land man on another planet in the solar system. Reno. Friedwardt Winterberg. “Colonizing Space With Fusion Propulsion. ngoetz) This is a nuclear propulsion concept generating its thrust with plasma waves generated from a series of miniature supercritical fission or fusion pulses. By staging and propagating thermonuclear burn. ngoetz) The great challenge that future spaceflight poses is the development of rocket-propulsion systems that can carry large payloads at extremely high speeds. They offer fast interplanetary transit times. measured in seconds: ma(At/mg) = Δν/g. Pre-programmed robots cannot do that.R. safety and reliability. plasma. For it a different approach is proposed.uiuc. The launch from the surface of the earth remains the most difficult task. it was studied in great detail under the leadership of Theodore Taylor and Freeman Dyson. .

The answer is thermonuclear propulsion. which it would take from an Earth orbit into an orbit around Mars. However. the extremely high-temperature and high-velocity products of a fusion reaction—106 meters per second—give fusion propulsion systems a very large potential specific impulse of 100. This requires a propulsion fuel that has a much larger energy density and thus higher combustion temperature. All of the different parts and materials for the space rocket would be carried up into orbit by chemically propelled space shuttles (to go from a planetary surface to an orbit. which can be accomplished only with a multistage rocket. and when three stages are put on top of each other. composed of hydrogen mixed with oxygen. Such a fuel. Using fusion propulsion. and fission systems less than 1. as in chemical combustion. In fact. to escape the Earth's gravitational pull. The idea is to launch a fusion space rocket that would be assembled in orbit. adequate for escaping the Earth's gravity. is the most powerful rocket fuel we know and was used in the upper stage of the Saturn rocket. we can get an exhaust velocity on the order of not just a few kilometers per second. chemical propulsion is always the most convenient means).gas. the temperatures are not a few thousand degrees. possibly only weeks. using chemical rockets. Therefore. The trick of getting to Mars in a short time. where there is no gravity and it is therefore possible to build much larger structures.000 seconds. Each stage can attain a velocity of about 3 kilometers per second. As we know from rocket theory. Chemical rockets have maximum specific impulses of less than 450 seconds. rocket velocity can be increased to as much as three times more than exhaust velocity using a three-stage rocket system. The rocket constructed in this fashion could carry a payload of thousands or even millions of tons. they are typically a hundred million degrees. the greater the motion of the gas molecules and hence the exhaust velocity of the gas. Chemical propulsion. . Then man would descend onto the sumrface of Mars. it is necessary to attain a rocket velocity of about 12 kilometers per second. at best 3 kilometers or about 2 miles per second. is to use a higher exhaust velocity. thus does not permit us to travel to Mars in a time less than years.000 seconds. When a chemical fuel is burned. the gas molecules and hence the exhaust reach a velocity on the order of a few kilometers per second. the spaceship can escape the Earth's gravitational field and head for the Moon. In a thermonuclear reaction. the maximum velocity that can be attained with chemical propulsion is 10 to 20 kilometers per second. but a few thousand kilometers per second.