Raw footage of early “nuclear pulse propulsion” tests aimed at inexpensive interplanetary travel. Essentially nuclear bombs driving spacecraft via Newton’s laws. 1963’s Test Ban Treaty damped further experimentation.
Beyond his incredible achievements in mathematics and physics, Dyson has always been a space enthusiast. He and a handful of other physicists were recruited by General Atomic in the late 1950s to develop a unique kind of spaceship propulsion.
Simply put, the idea was to drop a bunch of atomic bombs behind a space ship and ride the momentum from the blast.
They called it nuclear pulse propulsion.
“So we would launch the ship into space — bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb — going up about four bombs per second,” Dyson says in the interview.