Friday, March 6, 2015

Easy does it...

Workers remove large nuclear bomb lost in B-52 accident, carefully.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Keep saying how a Mars mission won't work because of radiation...

No doubt that a two way trip with 1.5 years on the surface will give astronauts a major dose, probably enough to make it their one and only trip in a career. (They will take on something like the lifetime limit of a nuclear power employee, albeit over the course of only a few years.) However, this is clearly not a show-stopper at all. Especially if some basic shielding is provided by spacecraft fuel, water, and some low-z materials as needed. Note that several astronauts have already spent about a year in LEO, meaning that they got perhaps a third as much radiation exposure already.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

The radioactive forest

"On November 2’2, 1961, a new research facility was put into operation at BNL. Called The Gamma Forest, the facility is the newest project in the Biology Department’s radiobotany program. Nuclear test explosions and waste disposal of radioisotopes have introduced into the environment substantially higher levels of ionizing radiation than have normally been present throughout the evolution of life. The presence of these higher levels of radiation - and the fact that man has the ability to increase them further, at least locally, by enormous factors - has stimulated many studies, at Brookhaven and elsewhere, of the effects of radiation on the earth’s organisms. Investigations of the deposition of radioactive debris on the earth’s surface have shown that it is carried by winds into the middle latitudes of both hemispheres where it is brought to earth in rain and snow." 

Monday, February 23, 2015

Russian proton crashes

These are generally very reliable rockets, but sometimes things just go wrong.