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Space Science

Project Icarus: the Gas Mines of Uranus 155

astroengine writes "When considering the fuel source for a fusion-powered interstellar probe, wouldn't it be a good idea to set up a colony on the moon and start pillaging the lunar surface for its helium-3 riches? Not so fast, says Adam Crowl of Project Icarus, there may be a far more viable source. What about the gas giants? Although Jupiter's gravity could pose a problem and Saturn's rings might get in the way (and forget Neptune, that place is one hell of a commute), perhaps the helium-3 in the Uranian atmosphere could be mined using atmospheric balloons?"
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Project Icarus: the Gas Mines of Uranus

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  • Really? (Score:4, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 01, 2011 @11:32PM (#36315860)

    The gas mines.... of Uranus.

    Please tell me that this story is a joke.

  • Re:Really? (Score:2, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 01, 2011 @11:45PM (#36315982)

    No no, it's deadly serious. Of coure, we can't just jump in blindly. We'll have to probe Uranus first.

  • Re:Really? (Score:2, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 02, 2011 @12:04AM (#36316086)

    Exactly, we wouldn't want the Klingons to stop us!

  • YAH RLY (Score:4, Funny)

    by DragonHawk ( 21256 ) on Thursday June 02, 2011 @12:11AM (#36316122) Homepage Journal

    I felt a great disturbance in the 'net... as if a million voices suddenly cried out in bad jokes, and were suddenly posted on Slashdot.

    This story should be fun.

  • Re:Really? (Score:5, Funny)

    by metamatic ( 202216 ) on Thursday June 02, 2011 @09:52AM (#36319418) Homepage Journal

    Yes, there’s nothing funny about Uranus. Let’s forget the childish humor and take a serious, scholarly look at Uranus. To many people it’s just a giant cloud of gas where the sun doesn’t shine, but those of us who are enthusiastic about Uranus know that it has many secrets.

    Surprising as it may seem, we don’t have all that many photographs of Uranus. Yes, the Pioneers sent back pictures of Uranus, lots of them. But there are very few images that are high enough resolution and quality to show the faint rings around Uranus. Perhaps the excitement around Project Icarus will give us the excuse we need to take another long, hard look at Uranus.

    Even if you have no idea how to find Uranus, you can still appreciate its unusual configuration. Scientists still don’t understand why Uranus is tilted sideways. Also, while we know what’s near the surface, we still aren’t sure of the exact chemical mixture deep inside Uranus. Are the moons stable, or are they spiraling into Uranus?

    With so much to learn, we must hope that NASA will probe the depths of Uranus soon. Yes, there are many technical issues that will need to be resolved, and problems to be faced—but we put men on the moon, and I’m sure that given sufficient motivation, NASA’s engineers can lick Uranus too.

MESSAGE ACKNOWLEDGED -- The Pershing II missiles have been launched.