nuclear power

Project Orion: Nuking Our Way to Mars

Have you ever watched an action hero fly through the air, propelled in slow motion by the massive explosion erupting behind them? This slice of cinematic cheese gives you a decent taste of how NASA considered propelling spacecraft in the 1950s and 1960s. Dubbed Project Orion (not to be confused with NASA's more recent Orion spaceship project), this crazy-sounding propulsion system depended on nuclear warheads. You read that right, not mere nuclear power but actual nuclear detonations.

What's energy sprawl?

Humans have a tendency to sprawl. You've seen it on the bus or train when your neighbor spills over into your narrow seat. With the help of an orbiting satellite, you can see it on a larger scale, with urban areas sprawling out for miles in every direction. Sprawl has entered the energy lexicon as well, and not everyone's happy about it.

Excuse me sir, but is that covert nuclear facility making nuclear weapons or nuclear power?

By now, you've probably already heard that Presidents Obama and Sarkozy, along with British Prime Minister Gordon Brown have jointly accused Iran of keeping a secret nuclear facility. The leaders are now asking the International Atomic Energy Agency to immediately inspect the facility. But how can they tell the Iranian operation is intended to make nuclear weapons rather than nuclear power?