The Moon and the Medusa – Use of Lunar Assets in Nuclear-Pulse-Propelled Space Travel


J.C. Solem (2000), JBIS53, 362-370

Refcode: 2000.53.362
Keywords: Medusa, Orion, nuclear-pulse propulsion, lunar assets, Lagrange points

The detailed radiation hydrodynamics of an explosive wrapped with lunar regolith or lunar water is tractable only through numerical simulations, and only on a case-by-case basis. Qualitatively, regolith has a shorter mean free path for radiant heat, but also a larger ionization energy. It therefore sequesters a larger fraction of the radiation in ionization, but less material is required to absorb the radiant heat. Water represents the opposite properties, a smaller ionization energy and a longer radiation mean free path. Using these qualitative properties, the applications and performance of the two propellants are compared.