An atomic spaceship to get to and from extrasolar objects

The vehicle could reach 360,000 kilometers per hour and travel to objects like Omamua and return with a piece in 10 years

It is the study of this type of objects, which cross the solar system but do not belong to it, it can change our conception of the Universe

The design is being studied by the NASA Institute for Advanced Concepts.

The NASA Institute for Advanced Concepts (NIAC) has received a proposal for spaceship capable of reaching an extrasolar object, take a sample and return to Earth in ten years.

Two of these objects, Oumuamua Y C / 2019 Q4 (Borisov), have passed through our solar system in the last three years, and we must be prepared for the next. Data collected from samples and data of interstellar objects have the potential to fundamentally change our view of the universe and our place in it, highlights the NIAC in a statement.

The compact spacecraft design proposed by USNC-Tech firm is based on a novel rechargeable atomic battery (CAB) that is capable of reaching 100 kilometers per second (360,000 kilometers per hour) with a specific mass energy system of 5-8 kilos per kilowatt.

Artist’s rendering of the extrasolar object interceptor CHRISTOPHER MORRISON

The central innovation of this spacecraft architecture that makes this mission possible is the CAB, which has a power density of more than 30 times that of Pu-238 (plutonium 238). The CAB is easier and cheaper to manufacture than the Pu-238 and the safe is greatly enhanced by the encapsulation of radioactive materials from the CAB within a robust carbide matrix.

This technology is superior to fission systems for this application because fission systems need a critical mass, while radioisotope systems can be much smaller and fit smaller launch systemss, which reduces cost and complexity, explains the NASA Institute for Advanced Concepts.

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