The Orion spacecraft. Via Wikipedia

Project Orion: Why Space Exploration Should Go Nuclear

by JOSHUA DANTON BOYD

The human race, as it has always been, is on course for extinction. The Sun will lumber through its life cycle and, in the process of this, will engulf the Earth and destroy everything on it. This isn’t exactly new information and it’s one of the reasons why the continuing development of space exploration is essential to the survival of our species (and all others bound to this planet for that matter). One day, for whatever reason, without the creation of an invulnerable shield and a way to get energy without the Sun, we will have to leave this Solar System.

This idea was slightly covered in xkcd’s “What If” weekly post entitled Everybody Out. This piece attempted to answer the question of whether or not there is enough energy to remove the entire population off of Earth. After some calculations in regards to the use of chemical propulsion (ie the same technology we use now to launch satellites and spaceships), just to move the weight of all the people (not including the rocket, fuel or anything else) we would need 8 petawatt-hours, or 5% of the world’s annual energy consumption.

Read more: Project Orion: Why Space Exploration Should Go Nuclear — Urban Times.

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