Nuclear Energy: Reactor in Orbit

When space talk turns to far-out exploration, to manned voyages far beyond the moon or Mars, most plans call for a nuclear reactor capable of providing abundant power without paying too much of a penalty for weight, and an ion engine capable of turning that power into thrust for months or years without paying too high a price in fuel consumption. Last week the first of such combinations, featuring SNAP-10A,* the world's first spaceworthy reactor, went into operation as it orbited the earth.

Bomb Fuel. The very conception of a nuclear reactor that can work by itself in space...

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