Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Nuclear Rocketship (1959)

I take a lot of pride in providing material you can't find anywhere else on the internet. But there's an easy way to tell when I'm having a busy week: I steal images from the website Plan59.

Still beautiful though, ain't it?

This illustration is by Frank Tinsley from 1959. The image appeared as part of a series of ads in Fortune magazine for the American Bosch Arma Corporation.

See also:
Air Force Predictions for 2063 (1963)
Fusion Energy in Space (1984)


Anonymous said...

That's beyond cool. My first thought was "I need a print of that." A quick Google and a random thought becomes reality for under 40 bucks. I love living in the age of the internet!!

Anonymous said...

Several ideas for nuclear spacecraft surfaced in the late '50s and early '60s, not quite as sleek. Life Magazine portrayed one called the "Shmoo" (after an Al Capp cartoon character) that would explode nuclear bombs in a vast spherical chamber for propulsion. The original Project Orion was simpler: set off the bomb in space, behind a heavy plate, so the shock wave would push the ship. And the NERVA nuclear rocket engine was proposed, semi-developed, and abandoned in the '60s. Something about melting the planetary surface you were trying to land on, I think...

Anonymous said...

Kennedy's famous speech said:

First, I believe that this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the Moon and returning him safely to the Earth.

But then in the next paragraph of the same speech he said:

Secondly, an additional 23 million dollars, together with 7 million dollars already available, will accelerate development of the Rover nuclear rocket. This gives promise of some day providing a means for even more exciting and ambitious exploration of space, perhaps beyond the Moon, perhaps to the very end of the solar system itself.

. said...

We must resume development of nuclear rocket technology if we're to have any real future in space.