A nuclear-powered rocket to go to Mars will be developed by NASA and the Pentagon
Darpa, the scientific arm of the American army, is at the origin of many innovations of the 20th century, including the Internet.
According to NASA, a nuclear-powered thermal rocket could be three to four times more efficient than conventionally fueled rockets and reduce travel time, an essential part of getting to the Red Planet.
In a thermal nuclear rocket, a nuclear fission reactor produces very high temperatures.
This heat is transferred to a liquid fuel, transformed into gas and — as in a conventional rocket — this is expelled through a nozzle to provide thrust.
“Darpa and NASA have a long history of successful collaborations,said the director of the military research agency Stefanie Tompkins, citing as an example the Saturn V rocket, which sent the Apollo missions to the Moon.
The development of this new type of launcher “will be crucial to more quickly and efficiently transport equipment to the Moon and, subsequently, people to Mars“, she added.
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