NASA, Pentagon join forces to develop nuclear rocket for Mars mission

Jan 25, 2023

Washington [US], January 25: NASA is working with a Pentagon agency to develop nuclear-powered rocket engines for missions to send humans to Mars.
On January 24 (US time), NASA Director Bill Nelson announced his agency would join hands with the Pentagon's Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency ( DARPA ) for the goal "as early as 2027". will develop and demonstrate state-of-the-art nuclear thermal propulsion technology."
"With the help of new technology, astronauts can accelerate their journey through space at unprecedented speeds. This is the main capacity to prepare for missions to send people to the red planet," AFP on January 25 quoted Nelson as saying.
DARPA is the research and development arm of the Pentagon that played a key role in many of the new innovations of the 20th century, including the internet.
According to NASA, rockets powered by nuclear thermal propulsion can be three times more efficient or more efficient than conventional chemical propulsion, while reducing transit time and control. key to the mission to Mars.
In a nuclear heat engine, a fusion reactor is used to generate extremely high temperatures.
Heat from the reactor is transferred to the liquid propellant, which in turn becomes gas and creates thrust.
"DARPA and NASA have a long history of successful cooperation," said DARPA Director Stefanie Tompkins, citing a prime example of the Saturn V rocket that sent the first astronauts to the moon.
"The thermonuclear rocket program will be essential in accelerating the delivery of materials to the moon, and will, over time, allow humans to get to Mars.
More than 50 years ago, NASA tested a thermonuclear rocket engine, but the program was canceled due to budget cuts and Cold War tensions.
Source: ThanhNien Newspaper

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