FEB 13, 2018 06:00 AM PST

Nuclear Rocket Back From Hiatus

First developed in the 1960s, nuclear thermal propulsion (NTP) rockets had undergone extensive tests. Despite many successful firings, no NTP rockets took flight before the space race ended. But now they are set to make a comeback. 

In its pursuit of missions that will take us to Mars and beyond, NASA has been exploring fast and efficient rocket concepts to travel around our solar system. NTP rockets emerged as an ideal candidate.

Unlike hydrogen fuel-combusting chemical rockets, NTP rockets use nuclear fission reactions to heat up liquid hydrogen and turn it into gas (plasma). When the plasma is ejected through a rocket nozzle,  the rocket gains thrust. 

Compared traditional chemical rockets, NTP rockets provide more powerful propulsion and require a smaller amount of fuel for the same distance. NASA estimated that an NTP rocket can cut the traveling time to Mars from six months to four.

Source: Curious Droid via Youtube

About the Author
  • With years of experience in biomedical R & D, Daniel is also very into writing. He is constantly fascinated by what's happening in the world of science. He hopes to capture the public's interest and promote scientific literacy with his trending news articles.
You May Also Like
NOV 05, 2018
Space & Astronomy
NOV 05, 2018
The Mystery Behind Oumuamua Continues...
Last year, Oumuamua became the first-known interstellar object to be identified by astronomers as it passed through our solar system. At first, astronomers...
NOV 11, 2018
Space & Astronomy
NOV 11, 2018
Rocket Lab Successfully Sends Electron Rocket on its First Commercial Flight
SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket quickly became of the most prominent means of commercial and private satellite launches, but sending such a massive rocket t...
NOV 12, 2018
Plants & Animals
NOV 12, 2018
Newly-Discovered Tea Plant Naturally Exhibits Little or No Caffeine
Tea is perhaps one of nature’s purest flavored drinks, and it can be brewed from not much more than some hot water and lightly-processed tea plant le...
NOV 13, 2018
Chemistry & Physics
NOV 13, 2018
Viscoelasticity and Non-Newtonian Fluids
One of these is not like the others: honey, water, ketchup, and blood. The answer? Water, because the other three are all non-Newtonian fluid. When Isaac N...
NOV 27, 2018
Space & Astronomy
NOV 27, 2018
Here's What Makes Mars So Challenging to Land On
Humankind has sent spacecraft to a plethora of worlds in our solar system, including asteroids, comets, moons, and planets. Of all, Mars has consistently p...
JAN 17, 2019
Cell & Molecular Biology
JAN 17, 2019
Researchers Engineer Artificial Cell Constructs That Send Signals
Scientists are getting closer to engineering synthetic tissues that mimic natural organisms....
Loading Comments...