New nuclear rocket design to send missions to Mars in just 45 days (engineering)

C C Offline

EXCERPT: . . . NASA and the Soviet space program spent decades researching nuclear propulsion during the Space Race. A few years ago, NASA reignited its nuclear program for the purpose of developing bimodal nuclear propulsion – a two-part system consisting of an NTP and NEP element – that could enable transits to Mars in 100 days. As part of the NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts (NIAC) program for 2023, NASA selected a nuclear concept for Phase I development. This new class of bimodal nuclear propulsion system uses a “wave rotor topping cycle” and could reduce transit times to Mars to just 45 days.

The proposal, titled “Bimodal NTP/NEP with a Wave Rotor Topping Cycle,” was put forward by Prof. Ryan Gosse, the Hypersonics Program Area Lead at the University of Florida and a member of the Florida Applied Research in Engineering (FLARE) team. Gosse’s proposal is one of 14 selected by the NAIC this year for Phase I development, which includes a $12,500 grant to assist in maturing the technology and methods involved. Other proposals included innovative sensors, instruments, manufacturing techniques, power systems, and more.

Nuclear propulsion essentially comes down to two concepts, both of which rely on technologies that have been thoroughly tested and validated... (MORE - missing details)
Kornee Offline
I wonder what the legal fine print says regarding an admittedly unlikely but always possible launch/reentry disaster.
Where nuclear material is scattered over some wide possibly heavily populated area either domestic or foreign. Or on Mars for that matter.
As the exceptional nation it likely won't much matter. All care no responsibility.

Of course it wouldn't be the first time radioactive material has been launched into space. But this effort indicates seriously larger amounts of the stuff.

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