NASA is going nuclear

Flyn

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Tucked into the recent spending bill that was passed by Congress is a line item for $100 million for NASA to develop nuclear thermal rocket engines, according to a recent article in Space News. The space agency has dabbled in nuclear rockets off and on since the early 1960s. However, NASA plans to conduct a flight demonstration by 2024 is new...

...A nuclear thermal rocket superheats liquid hydrogen in a nuclear reactor and shoots the resulting plasma out a rocket nozzle. Nuclear Thermal Propulsion (NTP) is far more efficient than a chemical rocket, reducing flight times to destinations such as Mars and requiring less fuel. Astronauts would be subjected to less radiation and less time in microgravity using NTP. Even uncrewed space probes would be able to reach their destinations more quickly, opening the solar system to further exploration.

Recent developments in nuclear technology allow engineers to develop cheaper, lighter and safer nuclear thermal propulsion than was envisioned under the NERVA program. Once flight-ready articles are developed, deep-space missions would become even cheaper.
https://thehill.com/opinion/technology/432153-nasa-is-going-back-to-the-future-with-nuclear-rockets

 

Kensington

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Cool stop gap, but faster than light travel is the only way we'll be able to do any meaningful exploration outside of our solar system.
 

Flyn

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I think FTL is one of those scientific discoveries that will happen but nobody knows when. Could be tomorrow, could be centuries from now.

In the meantime, the solar system is what we have and we are reaching the point where we can set up colonies and harvest resources. Entire planets and asteroid belts are out there waiting for us.

I think "The Expanse" SciFi series shows a good extrapolation of what the human race will be doing in the next couple hundred years. Colonies on Mars and the moon, miners in the asteroids, etc.
 

CMNTMXR57

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Just think, we could go rescue our little Mars Opportunity Rover and bring him home.
 

MrDragster1970

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As the doomsday guys keep saying, we can be wiped out any second, virus, nuclear war/accident, or a large strike.
To make sure we survive, we need colony's out there, and yes it would be cool to go harvest a butt load of helium 3 also.

I'm a skeptic about light speed. I hope I'm wrong, I'm just not holding my breath for getting even close to light speed,
and can't see us ever hitting multiples of light speed like warp 10 etc.

.
 

SHARKBITEATTACK

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I actually heard a story that Werner Von Braun, the ex nazi scientist who lead NASA during Apollo had proposed the date for landing on Mars just a week after Armstrong and Aldrin landed on the moon. His rocket to get us to mars would have used nuclear propulsion like the article mentions.
 

SHARKBITEATTACK

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anyone here ever seen a launch? I seen one last year in the day, would like to see a bigger heavier rocket at night tho. Sorta wish I got to see a shuttle launch tho...
 

tinfoilhat

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Yeah i saw one a couple years ago. Flew to Florida for 2 days just to catch one and check out the Kennedy space center. It was awesome
 

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