Rolls-Royce Nuclear Engine Could Allow Crewed Trip to Mars Written 7 February 2023


Artist's rendering of a Mars transit habitat and nuclear propulsion system that could one day take astronauts to Mars. | Credit: NASA

Gizmodo reports that Rolls-Royce Holdings “is getting into the nuclear reactor business.” The British aerospace engineering company “says it’s developing a micro-nuclear reactor that the company hopes could be a source of fuel for long trips to the Moon and Mars.” As humanity begins “to venture back into space, with crewed missions scheduled to visit the Moon and Mars within the next two decades, the technology that moves us throughout the solar system will be a pivotal part of that journey.” Rolls-Royce teased “the design of its Rolls-Royce micro-reactor for spaceflight with a digital mockup posted to Twitter last week:” As the company “explained in a tweet, the reactor will rely on uranium, a common fuel used in nuclear fission.” Nuclear fission “involves bombarding an atom with a neutron.” The splitting atom releases energy, “and that energy could be used to propel a rocket.” Nuclear reactors “have been used to power things like submarines, but its use in spaceflight has often been overlooked in favor of chemical-based propulsion.”
Full Story (Gizmodo)