In this episode, we had a lot of time on our hand after being marooned on another planet, so we watched the 2015 science fiction/comedy The Martian. How dangerous are plutonium fueled Radioisotope Thermoelectric Generators? Does cosmic radiation doom Matt Damon life on Mars? Why does every Mars movie need an impossible sandstorm? Tim and special guest host Gabe answer these questions and more. We also hear from Chris Marisola who breaks down the maritime/space law in the movie for us.
This is the fourth in our Mini-Nuke episode series, where we find movies that do not have enough nuclear nonsense for a full-sized episode but nonetheless demand over thinking.
Before we fulfill our Iron Man fantasies, we recommend checking out:
- Timothy Jorgensen, Strange Glow: The Story of Radiation (Princeton Press, 2016)
-the documentary “To Mars by A-Bomb: The Secret History of Project Orion,” BBC, 2003, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xYoLcJuBtOw
-George Dyson, Project Orion: The True Story of the Atomic Spaceship (Henry Holt and Co, 2002)
-Marshall Savage, The Millennial Project: Colonizing the Galaxy in Eight Easy Steps (Little, Brown and Company, 1992)
Also check out the sources below to learn more (you can also access these links on our SoundCloud and Facebook pages):
-Chris Marisola, Lawfareblog.com, https://lawfareblog.com/contributors/cmirasola
-Rhett Allain, “The Science in The Martian Isn’t Perfect, but That’s Okay,” Wired, September 23, 2015, https://www.wired.com/2015/09/science-martian-isnt-perfect-thats-ok/
-Rhett Allain, “How That Spinning Spacecraft From The Martian Would Work,” Wired, August 25, 2015, https://www.wired.com/2015/08/spinning-spacecraft-martian-work/
- Sarah Fecht, “Realism Makes ‘The Martian’ One of the Greatest Sci-Fi Films of All Time,” Popular Science, September 30, 2015, http://www.popsci.com/realism-makes-martian-one-greatest-sci-fi-films-all-time
-“ Sandstorms, Explosions, Potatoes, Oh My: 'Martian' Takes Its Science Seriously,” NPR, September 27, 2015, http://www.npr.org/2015/09/27/443192327/sandstorms-explosions-potatoes-oh-my-martian-takes-its-science-seriously
-Rod Adams, “‘The Martian’s’ RTG Science Includes Jarring Errors,” Atomic Insights, July 6, 2013, http://atomicinsights.com/martians-rtg-science-errors/
-Ron Turner, “The Radiation Threat to ‘The Martian,’” ANSER, 2015, http://www.anser.org/docs/The_Radiation_Threat_to_the_Martian.pdf
-Terry Dunn, “Dissecting the Technology of 'The Martian': Electrical Power,” Tested.com, September 9, 2015, http://www.tested.com/science/540836-dissecting-technology-martian-electrical-power/
-“The Science Behind 'The Martian' - Staying Warm on Mars,” Oak Ridge National Laboratory, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zPwhMUfbuh0
-Gary L. Bennett, “Review: The Martian,” Federation of Scientists, 2015, https://fas.org/nuke/space/martian.pdf
-Dave Mosher, “NASA’s Plutonium Problem Could End Deep-Space Exploration,” Wired, September 19, 2013, https://www.wired.com/2013/09/plutonium-238-problem/
-Project Orion, Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Project_Orion_(nuclear_propulsion)
-Steve Spaleta, “Project Orion Nuclear Propulsion – 1950s Tests (video), Space.com, December 14, 2014, http://www.space.com/28009-project-orion-nuclear-propulsion-1950s-tests-unclassified-video.html
We aim to have at least one new episode every month. Let us know what you think about the podcast and any ideas you may have about future episodes and guests by reaching out at on Twitter @NuclearPodcast, GooglePlay, SoundCloud, TuneIn, Stitcher Radio, Facebook, SuperCriticalPodcast@gmail.com, and YouTube.