Significant rivals, such as China, are rapidly investing in a wide variety of space technologies, including nuclear power and propulsion, said Bhavya Lal, NASA’s senior advisor for budget and finance, at the hearing. The United States must respond quickly in order to remain competitive and a leader in the global space community. Related: The Deadliest Space Weapons Ever
NASA has previously considered how nuclear propulsion technology may enable the agency to carry humans to Mars faster than standard chemical rockets. While nuclear electric propulsion provides several advantages, particularly in terms of getting to Mars rapidly, there are also hazards associated with developing and employing the technology.
Time is of the importance, according to the experts at Wednesday’s session, if NASA intends to travel to Mars soon. If the United States is serious about leading a human expedition to Mars, we have no time to waste, said the committee’s chairman, U.S. Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.). Beyer went on to say that Congress has continued to finance nuclear space technology development at NASA “with the intention of executing a future in-space flight test” for numerous years.
The dangers associated with are a basic materials problem that we believe is highly likely to be addressed, stated Roger M. Myers, co-chair of the Committee on Space Nuclear Propulsion Technologies, during the hearing.Myers stated that the materials issue includes inventing or discovering materials that can withstand exposure to heat and other harsh factors associated with space.
There are several nuclear propulsion systems that might be applied in space technology. Nuclear electric propulsion converts heat energy from a nuclear reactor into electric energy, which powers whatever form of electrical thruster or propulsion technology a spaceship employs. Nuclear thermal propulsion uses reactors to heat up propellants such as hydrogen, and then the gas produced by that process is expelled, producing thrust.
This can provide far more thrust than electric propulsion systems. Nuclear electric propulsion technologies use propellants far more effectively than chemical rockets but generate a limited level of thrust, the researchers write.
NASA said. Nuclear electric propulsion techniques accelerate spacecraft for lengthy periods of time and can push a Mars mission for a fraction of the fuel required by high-thrust systems.
Bottom line: The dangers involved with [nuclear propulsion] are a basic materials problem that we believe is highly likely to be addressed,” said Roger M. Myers, co-chair of the Committee on Space Nuclear Propulsion Technologies, during the hearing. Myers stated that the materials issue includes inventing or discovering materials that can withstand exposure to heat and other harsh factors associated with space.