We already covered the amazing history of project Orion in this blog — “to the stars, through nuclear bombs!” — and on the TED talk above, George Dyson gives a quick review of the whole thing.
In the end, he gives the good and the bad news.
The good one: despite being canceled, NASA still maintains a small group dedicated to preserve the know-how accumulated on the project, just in case such knowledge may be required again. You know, for such silly things like diverting a giant asteroid coming towards Earth, the only feasible technology to ferry large amounts of cargo (any cargo) towards it and do whatever we may do, is nuclear. So, it’s indeed good news they have a team to preserve what was accomplished on such technology.
The bad news: according to Dyson, when he checked with these guys on NASA to see if they could help him on his research, they ended up buying more than a thousand pages in documentation from Dyson himself.
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