Sunday, November 21, 2010

Tintin And The Peaceful Uses of Nuclear Energy

Jack Dikian
November 2010

In "Destination Moon", the sixteenth of "The Adventures of Tintin", a series of classic comic-strip albums, written and illustrated by Hergé, Tintin, Snowy and Captain Haddock are suddenly called by Professor Calculus to the Sprodj Atomic Research Centre in Syldavia a fictional country.

The guests are amazed to find the Professor planning to build a “space rocket”; and Tintin and his friends are unaware of the dangers that await them – for Calculus intends to fly to the Moon with the company of Tintin, Haddock, and Snowy, Tintin’s loyal fox terrier.

Despite the mishaps, the adventure sets off on the most hazardous journey ever undertaken by man.

What is of great insight is the author’s (Hergé) level of insight, imagination, and desire to be as consistent with scientific accuracy as perhaps available to an illustrator in the mid 1950’s, Destination Moon was written in 1954, well over a decade before the 1969 Apollo 11 Moon landing and several years before manned space flight. For example, Calculus describes how the deadly radioactivity produced by the engine would pollute the launch and landing area, hence the rocket is also equipped with a conventional chemical rocket engine.

The Use Of Uranium Because They Have Lots Of It..

The key element I wanted to reflect upon however, as well as the character’s feats of space exploration – the idea that Uranium can be used for peaceful use. More so, according to Prof. Calculus, the “Syldavian government invited nuclear physicists from other countries to work at the Centre, which was created four years earlier when large uranium deposits were discovered in the area”.

The Centre is entirely dedicated to peaceful uses of nuclear energy,…..
Are we, Australians, able to be as visionary and foresighted as Hergé in our search for environmentally friendly energy, and non-existent debate over nuclear energy.

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