NASA and the Pentagon will jointly develop a nuclear-powered rocket to travel to Mars

Mars, the planet that has awakened the fascination of man for centuries (NASA)

The POT partner with an investigative agency of the Pentagon to develop a nuclear powered rocket engine to send astronauts to MarsBoth organizations reported this Tuesday.

NASA administrator bill nelsonsaid the US space agency will collaborate with the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) to “develop and test advanced nuclear thermal propulsion technology beginning in 2027.”

“With the help of this new technology, astronauts could travel to and from deep space faster than ever before, an important capability to prepare for human missions to Mars,” he said in a statement.

DARPA is the research and development arm of the Pentagon and has played a role in many of the innovations of the 20th century, such as Internet.

NASA Administrator Bill Nelson (Graeme Jennings/Pool via REUTERS)

According to NASA, nuclear thermal rockets can be three or more times more efficient than conventional chemical propulsion and would reduce travel timesomething essential for an eventual mission to Mars.

In a nuclear heat engine, a fission reactor to generate extremely high temperatures.

Heat from the reactor is transferred to liquid propellant which is then converted to a gas, which expands through a nozzle and provides thrust.

“DARPA and NASA have a long history of fruitful collaboration,” said DARPA Director, Stephanie Tompkins, who quotes the rocket Saturn V that carried the first astronauts to the Moon.

“The nuclear thermal rocket program will be essential to more efficiently and quickly transport material to the Moon and eventually people to Mars,” Tompkins said.

NASA conducted its last tests of nuclear thermal rocket motors more than 50 years ago, but abandoned the program due to budget cuts and tensions from the Cold War.

(With information from AFP)

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The article is in Spanish

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