A Collaborative National Center for Fusion & Plasma Research
March 16, 2016,
4:15pm to 5:30pm


COLLOQUIUM: Fusion Rockets for Planetary Defense

Dr. Glen Wurden
Los Alamos National Laboratory

Fusion rocket engines could enable a rapid response capability for deflecting an incoming comet, to prevent its impact on the planet Earth, in defense of our population, infrastructure, and civilization. The problem with long period comets is that they basically arrive to the inner solar system unannounced. If one were on a collision course with Earth, we would only have 6-18 months of warning. To make a long-distance deflection of the comet, with momentum change delivered by ablation caused by radiation from a stand-off nuclear explosive, you need a fly-by interceptor rocket with 20-40x the performance of our best existing chemical rockets. A fusion rocket engine could enable the mission. Interestingly, the performance metrics and design constraints for a fusion rockets are quite different than for our usual Demo fusion reactor.

Colloquium Committee: 

The Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory 2016-2017 Colloquium Committee is comprised of the following people. Please feel free to contact them by e-mail regarding any possible speakers or topics for future colloquia.

Carol Ann Austin, caustin@pppl.gov
Soha Aslam, saslam@pppl.gov
Ilya Dodin, idodin@pppl.gov
Dave Johnson, djohnson@pppl.gov

  • Carol Ann Austin 609-243-2484

U.S. Department of Energy
Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory is a U.S. Department of Energy national laboratory managed by Princeton University.

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