aerospace research community

Discuss ways to make polywell research more widely known or better understood. Includes education and outreach.

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Rick Kwan
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aerospace research community

Postby Rick Kwan » Tue Feb 24, 2009 8:44 am

I'm new to this forum, having discovered polywell fusion a few weeks ago while following leads on space nuclear propulsion.

I recall someone mentioning that other government agencies than the Navy and DOE should be interested in this, i.e., NASA. This strikes me as something that should be of interest to the Exploration Systems mission directorate of NASA. The centers that come to mind are NASA Glenn for propulsion, and NASA Ames for lunar (and eventually other planetary) settlements. (NASA Ames is a lead center for nanotechnology, which has some hope for room temperature superconductivity.)

The umbrella professional society for aerospace is the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA). AIAA has a technical committee on Nuclear and Future Flight Propulsion. If they aren't already aware of polywell fusion, it should be put on their radar. (I stumbled onto one person on the committee; I hope he is reading the links I published.)

I'm a computer scientist with some aerospace background, and have some connections with aerospace researchers in Silicon Valley. In spite of the region's reputation for information technology, there are quite a few serious aerospace interest groups and organizations out here (including NASA Ames, the SETI Institute, and a couple of large aerospace companies). If someone who is involved with the work (or closely associated with them) has a prepared song-and-dance for scientists and engineers, I think it would be worth getting the people out here educated. Some of my local AIAA cohorts have expressed interest, and can help make contacts.

Tom Ligon
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Postby Tom Ligon » Tue Feb 24, 2009 1:12 pm

Dr. Bussard had a certificate on his office wall honoring him for being a member of AIAA (probably actually a predecessor organization) since 1943. I believe he was about 16 when he joined. One paper I have by my desk indicates he was a "fellow" of AIAA.

A number of the Polywell-powered space propulsion papers posted at Askmar.com were published in the Journal of Propulsion and Power, a publication of AIAA.

http://www.askmar.com/Fusion.html

He gave 'em an earful!

Rick Kwan
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Postby Rick Kwan » Tue Feb 24, 2009 4:32 pm

Thanks, Tom, for the quick reply. I fully expected that Dr. Bussard would be an AIAA Fellow. I confess I haven't met many 60-year members; and when I did, it was only on the aeronautics side of the house.

I've just started to peer into the AIAA papers; the Joint Propulsion Conference (JPC) certainly seems like the right venue. The latest JPC paper I see on the Askmar site is from 1997.

Every December, AIAA puts out an annual review of different aerospace disciplines in its flagship publication "Aerospace America". The 2007 review discussed IEC fusion, but it was focused on work at the University of Illinois Fusion Studies Lab. I saw no mention of Polywell or p+B11. (See the 2007 PDF at: http://www.aiaa.org/content.cfm?pageid=234&id=81 )

Planning for a lunar colony is currently based on the use of solar arrays at a lunar pole. Given current technology that's certainly the prudent thing to do. However, being geologists, astronomers, and biologists, I don't think this is on their radar, although I suspect fission and radioisotope solutions are there. I certainly don't want to hype stuff to them which is unproven. But as they make plans and make recommendations on where to spend research dollars, I think Polywell should be thrown into the mix.

Tom Ligon
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Postby Tom Ligon » Tue Feb 24, 2009 6:21 pm

I tried to condense several of his propulsion papers down to some PowerPoint slides for ISDC 2007. The slide presentation is posted down at the bottom of the Askmar fusion page.

http://www.askmar.com/Fusion_files/2007 ... tation.pdf

I've given variants of the talk at last year's FAA comercial space transportation conference, and at a couple of science fiction conventions. I don't get out to the west coast often ... I'm hoping I'll get to attend the Nebulas in LA in late April. I'm willing to talk if anyone cares to listen, but the thought of me trying to sell rocket science to a bunch of real rocket scientists makes me chuckle.

Rick Kwan
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Postby Rick Kwan » Tue Feb 24, 2009 10:05 pm

I looked at the ISDC slides. They seemed pretty good to me.

I agree that it would be good to have a rocket scientist talking to rocket scientists. I just wonder who that is. Is there such a person today?

The conferences I'd expect someone to target are:
* Joint Propulsion Conference, held in early August; location varies
* AIAA Space 200x (x=9 this year), held in mid-September, typically in Southern California
I realize the abstract deadlines have probably passed for this year. But I believe these are the venues at which you would have engineers believe that the concept is still alive.

Then again, there are the local AIAA sections, which often invite credible speakers on interesting topics. Southern California alone has lots of them. In Silicon Valley, there's just us, but we seem to have lots of alliances with other groups.

Rick Kwan
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Postby Rick Kwan » Wed Feb 25, 2009 7:40 am

I guess here's the question that bothers me.

Dr. Bussard himself was very well versed in rocket propulsion. Is anyone in rocket propulsion closely following the Polywell fusion work, and continuing to refine Dr. Bussard's ideas? (SpaceDev folks, perhaps?)


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