Wednesday, March 29, 2023

Astronauts should be able to fly to Mars in record time

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NASA is planning a project to get astronauts to Mars faster than before. For this they have already presented plans for testing nuclear missiles. Together with the US government’s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (Darpa), they want to demonstrate a first attempt in space as early as 2027, as the Guardian reports.

A revolutionary propulsion system is to be developed that differs from current chemical systems. NASA said in a statement: “The use of a nuclear thermal missile allows for a faster transit time, which reduces the risk to the astronauts.” Engineers cannot yet say how much time can be saved.

According to Nasa, the journey to Mars would take about nine months with the current means. With the help of nuclear technology, the engineers try to save travel time. The nuclear-electric propulsion systems can use fuel more efficiently than chemical rockets. The thrust is less and so spacecraft can be propelled for a longer time and would only need a fraction of the fuel.

Darpa Director Dr. Stefanie Tompkins explains that the current collaboration with NASA is an extension of the previous one. Regarding the current developments, she says: “The space sector is of crucial importance for modern trade, scientific research and national security. The ability to make leaps and bounds in space technology will be essential to more efficiently and quickly transporting material to the Moon and eventually humans to Mars.”

NASA hopes they can safely send humans to Mars in their Moon to Mars program in the 2030s. (lrc)

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