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The Problem of Power in Space. NASA’s New Kilopower Reactor

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Space is the worst. It’s got hostile radiation, a total lack of atmosphere, near absolute zero temperatures, problematic gravity wells, and worse.

In order to keep your spacecraft alive in that environment, you need electricity to keep it warm. Not to mention all the power to run scientific instruments and the transmitters to send that data home.

Getting enough power in space is a big problem.

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Team: Fraser Cain – @fcain / frasercain@gmail.com
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47 Comments

47 Comments

  1. Bondy

    June 16, 2018 at 3:19 pm

    @ 3:08 Aliens not Dust Devils

  2. Bondy

    June 16, 2018 at 3:30 pm

    11:48 What if the engines malfunction and the reactor overheats?

  3. Tom Kelly

    June 17, 2018 at 1:22 pm

    Perhaps they could use a magnetic drive that pushes a south magnet really hard off of the South Pole and then just hop from planet to planet using a magnetic repulsion or attraction effect.

    Magnets are special, I think the magnetic field will produce some more amazing technologies for us in time. Perhaps they will be involved with perpetual motion machines one day.

  4. Jonathan Carreño

    June 17, 2018 at 7:12 pm

    1:00 "football field" should be an standard SI area unit by this point.

  5. George Viaud

    June 17, 2018 at 8:54 pm

    How about LFTR thorium reactor tech?

  6. Gonzalo Murillo

    June 18, 2018 at 8:27 am

    TRADUCCION ORAL O BAJAR VIDEO

  7. Gregg Weber

    June 18, 2018 at 3:37 pm

    Instead of keeping all the batteries warm, can just a few seed or core batteries be kept warm if they can supply the power to reheat & rejuvenate the others in series? This would be like a queen bee starting a hive.

  8. TheRealBurticus

    June 18, 2018 at 8:28 pm

    The problem with power in space is called; human idiocracy, not NASA or any other corrupt agency of humans & it's ridiculously foolish governments.

  9. douglas steel

    June 18, 2018 at 8:59 pm

    Shrink what you think you need to send, the idea of sending humans is stupid. All you need is to put devices where they can collect information that isn't feasible on earth

  10. TheKirov099

    June 18, 2018 at 9:08 pm

    I understand that nuclear reactors work by using the heat from fission to turn water to steam. Convection currents then carry the steam through a turbine, which generates the power. I also understand that radiator panels are used to regulate heat in spacecraft. Could you combine the two ideas to produce power? For example, instead of using radiators that are just flat, conductive panels, use a water cooling system that draws heated water and steam away from parts of the spacecraft exposed to sunlight, passing through a turbine along the way.

  11. Doug Yates

    June 18, 2018 at 11:19 pm

    How are the Mars Rovers still operating? What keeps the solar panels clean with all that dust?………

  12. Remy Zero

    June 19, 2018 at 3:51 am

    `But surprisingly, dust devils have cleaned off it`s panels and allowed it to keep going…` WTF???? 😉 we all KNOW 😉

  13. Steve Spence

    June 19, 2018 at 7:12 am

    Juno is a waste of the effort they should have used radioisotopes

  14. psycronizer

    June 19, 2018 at 7:41 am

    so…you are telling us that if so inclined , some lunatic with some smart thinking could extrapolate roughly where to look for those bits of U235 from that downed satellite, and use it to make a dirty bomb ???!! that's pretty damn scary ! if they only recovered a measly one percent of that Uranium !

  15. psycronizer

    June 19, 2018 at 8:04 am

    There is absolutely no doubt that nuclear is the way to go, and not just beyond Mars, either. Regarding a system for long term, very high power output, I think fusion will be the answer, and with the new REBCO superconductors ability to produce confinement field strength at previously unattainable levels, that means smaller units will be possible, and cheaper. So power will not be an issue in that sense, but I think that the TOKAMAC system may also have one more golden gift to give us. The temperature of the fuel mix will be many millions of degrees Celsius, and thus the velocity of those particles extremely high, one could design a new system whereby the plasma is ejected via a magnetic nozzle for propulsion, such a system would have the ability to be operated for sustained periods with extremely high thrust. It would be capable of achieving a few percent of light speed in a relatively short time, unlike other particle engines which emit high velocity particles but need to be operated for long periods of time to accelerate.

  16. John Wang

    June 19, 2018 at 10:17 am

    One of the concerns of large nuclear reactors suitable for nuclear electric propulsion in space is the danger of launch failure dispersing the radioactive material into our environment. Re-entry concerns could be avoided by having the reactors only used in deep space applications where the spacecraft would not be in danger of re-entering our atmosphere. This has lead me to speculate on whether or not the relatively safe non-fissile Thorium could be launched then exposed to neutron bombardment perhaps by having a thin spallation beryllium shield over it as it passed through the Van Allen radiation belt to produce Palladium 233, which could then be more effectively shielded for about 30 days as they decay into fissile Uranium 233 which could be used in a reactor. It may take a few passes to generate enough Uranium with each "unshielded" spallation pass being at least 30 days apart since neutron bombardment of Palladium 233 would cause a different decay path. Trace amounts of Uranium 232 would also be produced which though fissile emits gamma radiation during it's decay path hence interfering with electronics thereby requiring more shielding or boom separation but it could be a way of getting nuclear fuel into space without actually launching anything dangerous from the Earth's surface. I think this could be worth a cubesat in the proper orbit to see if a sample of thorium could reach the uranium densities required, the uranium density could be easily measured by reading the gamma radiation produced by the unwanted uranium 232.

  17. Thor Odinnsson

    June 19, 2018 at 5:54 pm

    Fuel cells…. What about fuel cells?

  18. mike mathews

    June 19, 2018 at 11:52 pm

    Hamster in a wheel generator…..

  19. Chris Cunicelli

    June 20, 2018 at 1:30 am

    I have a question. When a space ship returns to earth, it falls at such great velocity that the friction from the atmosphere causes intense heat. Why can't a ship slow it's decent to avoid the high temperatures.

  20. TheCaptainLulz

    June 20, 2018 at 11:52 am

    Those soviets had a real affinity for blowing their nuclear load all over the fucking place didnt they. Its a wonder were all alive with the level of nuclear incompetence they seemed to have.

  21. Michael O'Leary

    June 20, 2018 at 2:39 pm

    How about electric motor turning a generator that puts out twice the input per turn to charge Batts or capacitors to hold the charge it can power free no fuel needed 24/7 power

  22. Ind de Móveis Bonatto Ltda - Bonatto Móveis - Móveis Bonatto

    June 20, 2018 at 3:20 pm

    agencia espacial é ótima amo todos os videos quero trabalhar lá.

  23. Rax Savvage

    June 20, 2018 at 10:31 pm

    this is an outrage
    we're saving that magnificent roving bastard when we get to mars
    we will get it a good home in a martian museum named curiosity plaza

    why? cause we look after our own

  24. R FP

    June 20, 2018 at 10:43 pm

    I think in the next 20 years fusion is going to far surpass fission and solar by a landslide with all the new sites coming online and planned for R&D as well as active replacement for nuclear plants and solar farms.

  25. Robert Stephens

    June 21, 2018 at 12:26 am

    Generator on an exercise bicycle. Alternately, long ago it was reported that astronots suffer excessive outgassing in orbit. How about tiny suppository butt turbines? They would sound off like zinger whistles. That would be pretty comical on their fake ISS videos and would be a totally winning way to boost viewership. Yet a third option to generate electricity in space would be for NASA to install tiny generators on the propellers many of them wear on their heads!

    This program is a total waste of my time, so I didn't bother watching beyond the intro. It is all part of a very deeply entrenched DECEPTION and I am sad to see Fraser Cain accepting and reselling the lies for personal gain.

  26. Glen DeKoker

    June 21, 2018 at 12:52 am

    How do they get fresh air with 8 people and no fresh supply? must be hokes pokes shazam. who has been cleaning the solar panels every day?

  27. Mark Brimble

    June 22, 2018 at 5:08 pm

    He forgot Zero Point Energy which Nicola Tesla new about in the early 20th century.

  28. cherry berry

    June 22, 2018 at 5:51 pm

    Really enjoyed watching this.. how about ringing at BBC?

  29. Rob Schoufour

    June 22, 2018 at 11:00 pm

    With all the advances in technology and everything else we think we're so smart but us mere mortals are still producing electricity with some sort of a steam engine using different sources of each that's all just stoke up a little fire in that space craft with some sticks

  30. d p

    June 23, 2018 at 1:42 am

    Thanks Fraiser Crane

  31. ROB SANUNDERS

    June 23, 2018 at 8:47 pm

    Why not use Thorium as the main fuel source instead ?

  32. M. S. L.

    June 24, 2018 at 6:06 am

    Uber hi-tech sterling engines…that's where it's at.
    Nuclear heat source is a bonus.

  33. Lance Winslow

    June 24, 2018 at 6:38 am

    Thanks for the update on all this, great video.

  34. TheGreatPyroWolf

    June 25, 2018 at 6:38 am

    What if you could gather energy from the Van Allen belt?

  35. US

    June 25, 2018 at 10:54 am

    Why dont we just go to the Air Force's Stargate Command and Borrow a Naquadah reactor?
    Who needs a space force?

  36. HAHAHA HAHAHA

    June 25, 2018 at 8:39 pm

    Cold Fusion

  37. Niko Koto

    June 26, 2018 at 5:25 am

    why dont they use such technologie like in the LHC to speed up the ion to a few percent of speed of light ang generate more thrust

  38. Katarina Kochan

    June 26, 2018 at 4:28 pm

    I must tell you, I m surprised how little is know about energy in space by scientist. All is always taken from Earth, yet space is loaded with let say ELECTRICITY. It is always harvested sun energy, but there is another options out there. You mentioned HOSTILE space, yet that same radiation that can kill humans could be harvested as propulsion energy. Just check again all awesome dangerous radiation and it will open all spectrum of different possibilities. I could wright here wot I mean to say. But so far I was assured again and again that human greed will surprise billions, why we are at this time in such low level of scientific possibilities. Only success is guaranteed working toughener.

  39. Sapioit

    June 27, 2018 at 2:08 pm

    If solar panels are expensive, why not use thin sheets of metal arranged in a parabolic formation, to feed the solar panels with more light than they would otherwise get? I mean, solar panels would still be needed, but a lot less could create a lot more power.

  40. vivek kamat

    June 28, 2018 at 5:13 am

    is there any way to convert radiation into energy. It is useful in space as I am not that much aware of space science but i heard about radiation around space.

  41. vivek kamat

    June 28, 2018 at 5:17 am

    in future Wireless electricity supply is also an option for space travel.

  42. 911gp

    June 29, 2018 at 3:38 pm

    POWEEEEEEEEEEERRRRRRR

    – Jeremy Clarkson

  43. Titanium Window

    June 29, 2018 at 5:05 pm

    Hamsters running on, well, hamster wheels. The best power source!

  44. Chad Castagana

    June 30, 2018 at 9:00 am

    The Juno space craft has a orbit around Jupiter that is highly inclined to Jupiter's orbital plane, thus it is always in sunlight! That is why it doesn't need Plutonium fueled RTGs.
    Why make RHU's with Plutonium? Why use a fissionable isotope if they are only to create a few watts of heat?

  45. louis swanson

    June 30, 2018 at 10:36 am

    BEFORE leaving earth, run a eletric capture off of our magnetic field, if you super cool equipment there is no rsesistnce to current flow. run it over supermagnets . there is your power.

  46. Jonathan Roberts

    June 30, 2018 at 4:32 pm

    The earth is flat FACT! Fish eye lenses make the earth looked curved, just look at the solar panels on the iss at the start of the video they are clearly curved!!

  47. chronoss chiron

    June 30, 2018 at 7:01 pm

    the safe way to do nuclear ….build it up at a space station , far safer and thus 100% no issues

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Earth As Seen From Other Planets

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Footage of Earth as seen from other planets:
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Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

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