Former Congressman Bob Walker has worked with me for decades – since we served together in Congress. Specifically, we have worked toward advancing American leadership in space. He is now the President of MoonWalker Associates, a firm in DC which advocates on space issues, and a member of the Gingrich 360 Board of Directors. – Newt
There is growing interest in development of nuclear reactors to provide power for space applications. What we know is that space voyages can be dramatically shortened if power can be constantly provided to spacecraft in the vacuum of space. Trips to Mars, for example, can be shortened from months to weeks. Also, nuclear power will be a necessity on the surface of the Moon and Mars for the energy needed for both human presence, research and industrial activity.
Interestingly, the Pentagon also has need of small nuclear reactors for use at forward bases so that the very dangerous transport of diesel fuel to those bases can be eliminated. Most combat related deaths in Afghanistan and Iraq were in the process of transporting fuel. So, the military has embarked upon a program to create small, inherently safe reactors that can be transported easily to remote locations and be up and running within hours.
Now, there is discussion that the nuclear technologies that the military hopes to have ready for testing within 48 months or less could also be the foundation for space power. Clearly space nuclear must be relatively compact and lightweight to use in a spacecraft. It must be technology that is inherently safe and would not require huge superstructures to shield it. It must have characteristics that keep it from explosion or meltdown, which could expose humans to radiation. Each of these requirements match Pentagon thinking.
Advanced nuclear reactor designs exist that can fill all the known requirements for both military and space use. Those designs involve new types of nuclear fuel that is not weapons grade, can be safely contained, and can be launched without fear of nuclear contamination.
With the new willingness of national security space to cooperate with the commercial space sector and NASA, what is now an experimental military project can become the foundation for all phases of our national space efforts. While chemical rockets will continue to be the mainstay of our space access potential in the near term, nuclear power is poised to take us into deep space in the not too distant future.
Gingrich 360 Board Member
NEWS & UPDATES
A short list of things to which every American should pay attention.
Gene Editing Breakthrough – A pair of scientists appear to have made a significant breakthrough in CRISPER gene editing. Simply put, CRISPER creates the ability to cut out certain parts of our DNA with precision, and then replace them with different code (although with less precision). The potential applications of this technique are amazing. With enough study and research, we could potentially cure any hereditary genetic disease. Well, Drs. David Liu and Andrew Anzalone have discovered a more surgical way to complete this process. Dr. Liu has recently said he suspects this method could render 89 percent of diseases harmless. Wired wrote an excellent story about this discovery.
Tarantino vs China – One of Hollywood’s elite directors is taking a stand against the Peoples Republic of China. Quentin Tarantino is bashing the Chinese government for canceling the premier of his new movie Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood. The controversy started after the daughter of legendary Bruce Lee, Shannon Lee, lobbied the Chinese government claiming Tarantino made a mockery of her father – depicting him as a mere stuntman. Bruce Lee, a martial arts master, director, and philosopher set the stage for other leading Asian heritage actors to make their marks on Hollywood such as Jackie Chan, and Jet Li. Tarantino’s refusal to sacrifice his artistic freedoms is a statement that money cannot threaten his freedom of speech. According to Deadline, Tarantino profited more than $70M from Chinese viewership alone. This could potentially plant seeds for a bigger problem in Hollywood, pitting other Hollywood studios against China.
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