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There are ways of saying no that don't feel like the rep just slapped you on the face
Since few years SSNs have not been issued to international students on arrival / enrollment, but only when they take up their first student job (if any)... On arrival they get an ITIN number instead. And yes, many places that demand the SSN don't know what to do with the ITIN when they get one (despite the fact that the law states it should function in almost the same fashion).
In the new reactors, there is an emergency(?) secondary circulation system that consists of large amounts of coolant (your good ole' H2O) above steel reactor enclosure. In case of trouble, this water is dumped and bathes the enclosure. There is another steel wall that is being cooled using air coming from outside (gravity driven or what-not). Thus the process goes: reactor rods (HEAT) > primary (radioactive) coolant > reactor containment > secondary/emergency coolant (non-radioactive) > coolant enclosure > moving air > atmosphere. In theory, in case of a situation like the one that happened in Japan, the system should work well enough with little or no extra power needed (if I understood correctly, most of it is actually automated and doesn't even require human intervention). Excess heat that is not removed by air cooling goes away with steam, so you might want to refill the water after few days. This paradoxically leads to less moving elements, control systems, pipes, etc. etc. and significantly reduces the reactor cost too. After you are done, you can just drain the secondary coolant, as it does not become radioactive. I guess it just took someone with enough imagination.
The only problem is, those reactors aren't fully certified yet. But works (and construction) are pending.
Just two things:
a) why less than 0? Do you get money out of it?
b) let's try not giving you any food for a month and see how well your DNA synthesis goes then...
And yes. Despite much smaller gravity well that Mars has, I guess it makes more sense to leave fuel for return trip in orbit than to take it to Mars surface. This way, if something goes wrong with the lander, you have a relatively "free" fuel depot in orbit for the next mission. In general, our space projects should be done as modular and with as much reuse of components as possible.
I on the other hand, wonder if it's possible to improve the device to work as an efficient energy "receptacle" / converter. Like a wireless power cable. You could then "beam" energy i.e. in space (where there is no atmosphere to kill all your photons) to your sattelite. One could also think about using fiberoptic cable instead of copper for energy transmission, but I don't see a real application for that (except maybe some exotic noise issues).
Yeah, the invention doesn't have many obvious applications. But it doesn't mean scientists & engineers will not come up with one at some point.
In my humble opinion however, despite the relative ingenuity of the idea it involves a bit too much complication, and this will be a big barrier for adoption. Plus, someone show me the detailed ROI figures too...