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Mars Society Issues Resolution Supporting Space Nuclear Power

While fusion will eventually power this world, Mars and beyond, the next phase of manned planetary exploration will require nuclear technologies of various kinds.
 Washington - Jan 28, 2003
The Steering Committee of the Mars society today issued a resolution supporting the revival of NASA's space nuclear power program. The resolution was approved by a vote of 20 in favor, 1 opposed, 1 abstention, and 7 not voting. The text of the resolution is given below.

The decision by NASA to revive its space nuclear development program is a very positive step that will greatly enhance the prospects for human exploration and settlement of the solar system.

The Mars Society applauds any effort to proceed with technology development that supports human exploration of Mars. Using nuclear thermal rockets allows the payload delivered from LEO to the Moon or Mars to be substantially increased, thereby cutting the launch costs associated with lunar or Mars exploration programs.

Nuclear power reactors are needed for long duration operation of a Mars base, where they could provide the power for reliable life support, ultra-high data rate communications, and the in-situ production of ascent and return propellants, thereby increasing mission science return and cutting launch costs even more.

Beyond Mars, unmanned probes using nuclear power for high specific impulse electric propulsion, active sensing, and high data rate communication could increase mission science return enormously compared to that possible with today's technology.

While public concern about the risks involved in launching nuclear power sources is appropriate, we believe that nuclear power can be launched and operated in space without posing a safety or environmental risk to Earth.

Launch of a fission reactor which has not yet been started presents no radiation hazard to Earth because, prior to reactor start, no radionuclides have been produced and so radioactivity is negligible

Administrator O'Keefe's decision to develop space nuclear power is a wise move that will greatly expand our space capabilities and prove cost-effective. The name "Project Prometheus" is well taken.

Prometheus gave fire to man, giving us the power needed to create civilization on Earth. NASA's Project Prometheus will give us the power we need to extend human civilization to the heavens.

The Mars Society endorses this program and promises to support it energetically in every way we can. We urge all others interested in furthering humanity's prospects in space to do likewise.

Related Links
Mars Society
NuclearSpace.com
Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space
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Nuclear Power In Space And The Impact On Earth's Ecosystem
 Washington - Jan 27, 2003
In our continuing series of articles that seek to inform and facilitate debate on the issue of nuclear space technology, Bruce Gagnon the coordinator of the Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space group asks SpaceDaily readers to consider a range of critical issues that many fear will be overlooked as NASA dangles the prize of Man on Mars as the payoff for supporting a new ear of nuclear space technology development.

NASA To Boost Nuclear Space Science With Project Prometheus
Los Angeles - Jan 20, 2003
NASA is finally expected to announce a new nuclear rocket development program as it's top priority soon. They will, during the next couple of weeks, be requesting resources and funding from congress to design this system. Estimated to have a thrust to weight ratio outperforming current technology by at least 300%, the new rocket could revolutionize space travel.

Media Hype Alone Cannot Fuel The Space Program
Los Angeles - Jan 21, 2003
It seems to be the week for excessive hype where space is concerned. Over the last few days, three separate stories about developments and problems in space exploration have made a considerable splash -- but on more detailed inspection, all three have been overblown.



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