Nuclear powered rockets can get crewed mission to Mars in just three months



 

CNN reported that, a nuclear-powered rocket could get a crewed mission to Mars in just under three months.


NASA plan to reach with humans on year 2035 and there are lots of challenges are on the way like, time taken to reach Mars, Space radiation affecting Astronauts.


A Seattle-based company known as Ultra Safe Nuclear Technologies now come up with a design of a spacecraft that will use nuclear-powered rockets to shorten the trip. USNC-Tech claims to have made it safe for the crew.


According to Michael Eades, the director of engineering USNC-Tech, the rocket has been designed in such a way that it will store liquid propellants between the engine and the crew area and block out the radioactive particles to ensure the crew does not get exposed to radiation during the flight.


Jeff Sheehy, chief engineer of NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate told CNN that NTP rockets will double the miles per gallon” meaning a round trip would be possible in less than two years.


It have challenges like, finding uranium fuel that can withstand high temperatures inside a nuclear thermal engine.


The company claims to solve the problem by developing a fuel that will be able to work in temperatures as high as over 2,400 degree celsius. The fuel comprises of a material known as silicon carbide which is frequently used in tank armour. It is capable of preventing radioactive products from leaking from the reactor by forming a gas-tight barrier.


The nuclear rockets will not lift off from Earth like other thermal-engine powered rockets. They will be taken to space by a regular rocket that would take it into Earth’s orbit and that’s when the nuclear-powered spacecraft will lift off. And in case something goes wrong and the rocket explodes, USNC-Tech said the pieces of the nuclear reactor would not land on Earth or any other planet as they cannot move in vacuum.


USNC-Tech’s idea could open up a new way for deep space exploration, until technology is truly tested, it will be some time before astronauts head out to Mars in a rocket powered by a nuclear thermal engine.

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