US space agency NASA is preparing to send humans to Mars by 2035. Transporting humans to Mars, located about 23 million kilometers from Earth, remains a challenge for NASA. Therefore, NASA is currently working on a plan to build a nuclear powered rocket. This rocket will deliver humans to Mars in three months. If such a rocket is made, NASA could make a big leap in future space missions.
Now it takes 7 months to reach Mars
In fact, the rocket faces the biggest problem NASA faces in reaching humans on Mars. Because all rockets currently take at least 7 months to reach Mars. If humans are sent such a distance, there may be a shortage of oxygen to reach Mars. The second concern is that the environment on Mars is not conducive to human life. The temperature there is colder than Antarctica. It can be dangerous to arrive with low oxygen in such unforgiving weather.
The return of Mars with the current rocket will take 3 years
NASA’s chief engineer for space technology missions Jeff Sheehy said most rockets in operation today have chemical engines. These can take you to Mars, but it can take at least three years to take off and return from that long journey to Earth. He also said NASA wanted to reach Mars as soon as possible in order to spend as little time as possible for the crew in space. This will reduce exposure to space radiation. Due to which radiation, cancer and nervous system are also affected.
NASA prepares to reach Mars in three months
For this reason, NASA scientists are finding ways to reduce travel time. Seattle-based Ultra Safe Nuclear Technologies (USNC-Tech) offered NASA to build a nuclear thermal propulsion (NTP) engine. This rocket can transport humans from Earth to Mars in just three months. Currently unmanned spacecraft sent to Mars take at least seven months. At the same time, the humans’ mission is expected to take at least nine months to reach Mars from the current rocket.
Nuclear rockets will be several times more powerful than current rockets
The idea of building a nuclear rocket engine is not new. It was first designed in 1940. However, due to lack of technology, the system was put in cold storage. Even today, nuclear-powered rockets are seen as a solution for traveling long distances in space. Michael Eads, director of engineering at USNC-Tech, told CNN that nuclear-powered rockets would be more powerful and twice as efficient as the chemical engines in use today.
The nuclear rocket engine has become a technical challenge
The technology of manufacturing nuclear rocket engines is quite complex. One of the main challenges in engine manufacturing is uranium fuel. This will cause extreme temperatures inside the uranium nuclear heat engine. At the same time, USNC-Tech claimed that a fuel can be developed by solving this problem that can operate at temperatures up to 2,700 degrees Kelvin (4,400 degrees F). This fuel contains silicon carbide which is also used for the protection of the tank armor. It will not remove radiation from the engine, which will ensure the safety of all astronauts.