No solvency – EMP from the reactor destroys critical tech Nichols 9 (Matthew, Bachelors of Science in Applied Physics and Mathematics from Western Kentucky U, [www.wku.edu/~matthew.nichols/Orion%20rev%20PCW.doc] AD: 7-9-11, jam)
However, a nuclear detonation will ionize matter that is not initially consumed in the reaction. These resultant free electrons can producean extraordinarily fluctuating magnetic field known as an electromagnetic pulse (EMP). This, in turn, produces an intense electric field that can induce massive amounts of voltage within electrical conductors and can destroy any electrical circuit in its wake.Disabling communications, navigation or life support in space would certainly present severe complications to any mission. This effect is greatly amplified on Earth: the presence of Earth’s magnetic field seizes these free electrons and accelerates them along the magnetic field lines while Earth’s atmosphere presents more matter to be ionized and thus creates more free electrons. In deep space, however, the EMP from nuclear pulse propulsion would primarily be propagated by the material within the craft itself as there will be no atmospheric material present, nor will there be a large, external magnetic field.
With the growing desire to push past our boundaries in space, it has become necessary to look towards a new means of propulsion. Currently used propulsion systems, such as chemicals propellants, are too heavy and bulky for a long distance missions. The remaining alternatives, ion and nuclear propulsion, are also ineffective in terms of the ratio of energy output to quantity required Current research in the field of antimatter propulsion, more specifically antiproton annihilation, shows the energy output of antimatter is significantly greater than that of other leading propellants. Antimatter propulsion has a near 1 to 1 ratio of mass to energy transfer; hence, a spacecraft powered by antimatter requires less storage volume than the typical spacecraft. Research also shows that compared to other systems, antimatter propulsion has fewer hazardous byproducts and waste materials. In theory, the use of an antimatter propulsion system would allow for deep space missions and lighter spacecrafts.
Nuclear propulsion is inefficient – in practice its less useful than chemical propulsion
NASA first researcheda nuclear powered engine in the 1960s and the early 70s. The project for this research was called the NERV rocket. This project’s goal was to make a nuclear reactor powered propulsion system for a Saturn V rocket. However problems quickly arose from political pressure, environmental concerns, and design flaws. America was still in the throes of a nuclear arms race and cold war, so nuclear power was strongly lobbied against. Also, the environmentalconcerns about radioactive waste played a big part in killing the project. The final nail in the coffin was the effectiveness ofthe NERV rockets in comparison to conventional rockets already in use. The main problem was that therockets were not able to efficiently convert the energy of the nuclear reactions. This made them only as or less powerful than rockets already used. The project eventually ended in 1972.
Orion is inefficient – multiple technical barriers make it unfeasible
Consider two hypothetical spacecraft. The Orion vehicle would have worked by setting off low-yield nuclear devices behind a massive pusher plate, driving forward a payload attached at a safe distance from the pusher (and protected by mind-boggling shock absorbers). Even if we had the nuclear devices at our disposal, agreed to use them for such a purpose, and found the political will to construct an Orion craft for deep space exploration, aproblem still remains: most of the energy from the nuclear blasts is dissipated into space, and the craft thus requires a huge critical mass of fission explosives. Orion, in short, is not efficient in using its energies. Now consider Project Daedalus, the hypothetical mission to Barnard’s Star designed by members of the British Interplanetary Society back in the 1970s. Daedalus was designed to use fusion microexplosions instead of fission. One of the reasons the Daedalus craft demanded as much fuel as it did is that the ignition apparatus, whether laser or particle beam, to ignite fusion is massive, adding unwanted heft to the vehicle. Daedalus would have massed an overwhelming 54,000 tons.
McNutt et al. 2k (Ralph L., Chief scientist in the Space Department @ Johns Hopkins U Applied Physics Lab, 6/6/00, www.niac.usra.edu/files/library/meetings/annual/jun00/393McNutt.pdf) JPG
Nuclear Pulse Propulsion (“Orion”) • Fission may provide the key element for the perihelion propulsion, but only in a pulsed mode with low fission yields per pulse; we need the fission energy of ~1.3 g of uranium–a total of about 13 tons of TNT equivalent. • The problem is the coupling of the momentum into the ship over short time scales, ~10–8s. Transferring this impulse over such short times typically causes stress to exceed the yield strengths of all known materials. • The Orion concept requires large masses for dealing with the release of ~1 to 10 kT explosions; however, the spacecraft masses tend to be large due to the power plant overhead.