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Nuclear engine could get to Mars in six weeks


Posted on Thursday, 17 March, 2016 | Comment icon 66 comments

Russia is certainly no stranger to building manned space rockets. Image Credit: NASA/Carla Cioffi
Russia is working on a new propulsion system that has the potential to revolutionize space travel.
Despite all the technological advances that have been made over the last few decades, traveling around the solar system is something that is still significantly limited by our ongoing reliance on conventional chemical propulsion systems which are slow, heavy and expensive.

While NASA is still basing its future plans for a manned mission to Mars on long-haul voyages, Russia has been working on something a little bit more immediate - a nuclear engine with the potential to carry astronauts to the Red Planet within as little as six weeks.

Now in a new announcement about the $274 million project, Russia's nuclear body Rosatom has revealed that the new engine should be ready to undergo testing by 2018.
"A nuclear power unit makes it possible to reach Mars in a matter of one to one and a half months, providing capability for maneuvering and acceleration," said Rosatom head Sergey Kirienko.

"Today's engines can only reach Mars in a year and a half, without the possibility of return."

The revelation has come as something of a surprise because if Russia really has managed to develop a super-fast space engine then it is likely to leave both ESA and NASA in the dust.

Whether it will actually work as advertised however remains to be seen.

Source: Mirror.co.uk | Comments (66)


Tags: Russia, Nuclear, Rocket


Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #57 Posted by Noteverythingisaconspiracy on 20 March, 2016, 15:55
Yeah no need to endlessly discuss something like this. Trying to find any logic n Qx's posts is an exercise in futility.
Comment icon #58 Posted by Derek Willis on 20 March, 2016, 15:55
Derek, qx is a serial NASA hater who accuses the agency of all kinds of silliness. He has post after post about every shiny object on Mars being an artifact of some long lost civilization on Mars and NASA as the "ebil gubmint" keeping the secrets from the people. In QX land, every blurry photo is the latest evidence of ET that NASA is keeping from us. The $274M wasn't in the OP article it was in a linked article, as far as I could see and it was most definitely a slur against NASA who qx believes wastes every penny spent on it. The only amazing thing here is he actually acknowledged there are ... [More]
Comment icon #59 Posted by keithisco on 23 March, 2016, 15:57
For those who are more interested in the technology (and variants) than the usual "drubbing" of a poster (postee?) in this forum: NASA is VERY interested in the EmDrive - they completely re-vamped their test set-up (late 2015) in an attempt to remove any possible test errors and... they still found an anomalous thrust from the drive (without any reaction mass involved!). Now that is something that is very useful for NASA to expend money on as it could (emphasis "Could") be the way to open up interplanetary and extra solar exploration.
Comment icon #60 Posted by Merc14 on 23 March, 2016, 18:38
For those who are more interested in the technology (and variants) than the usual "drubbing" of a poster (postee?) in this forum: NASA is VERY interested in the EmDrive - they completely re-vamped their test set-up (late 2015) in an attempt to remove any possible test errors and... they still found an anomalous thrust from the drive (without any reaction mass involved!). Now that is something that is very useful for NASA to expend money on as it could (emphasis "Could") be the way to open up interplanetary and extra solar exploration. The last I heard the tests were all inconclusive as the res... [More]
Comment icon #61 Posted by Derek Willis on 24 March, 2016, 22:20
The last I heard the tests were all inconclusive as the results weer right at the limits of the tools used to measure the reaction. http://www.forbes.co...3cf7368¬ ¬ What info do you have that refutes this? By coincidence I watched a TV program yesterday that included the EM drive. Tests carried out at Dresden University measured a tiny horizontal force. However, when the device was set up to produce a vertical force, the horizontal force was still there, but no vertical force. The conclusion was that the horizontal force was caused by electromagnetic interactions of the supply feed lines.
Comment icon #62 Posted by keithisco on 25 March, 2016, 7:33
The last I heard the tests were all inconclusive as the results weer right at the limits of the tools used to measure the reaction. http://www.forbes.co...3cf7368¬ ¬ What info do you have that refutes this? I suggest you start with this article in Popular Mechanics Link: http://www.popularmechanics.com/space/news/a20076/the-emdrive-will-undergo-peer-review-that-it-wont-pass/
Comment icon #63 Posted by Derek Willis on 25 March, 2016, 7:45
I suggest you start with this article in Popular Mechanics Link: http://www.popularme...t-it-wont-pass/ So where in the article is there any physics confirming EM drive works? The article describes EM drive as a "silly episode in hyperbolic research". Admittedly, the article says "...maybe, just maybe EM drive technology has a ghost of a chance of being a reality". Hardly convincing. Maybe, just maybe there is a ghost of a chance there are fairies at the bottom of my garden. Edit: What do you think of the research done at Dresden re. my earlier posting?
Comment icon #64 Posted by Merc14 on 25 March, 2016, 13:05
I suggest you start with this article in Popular Mechanics Link: http://www.popularme...t-it-wont-pass/ Just so you now, there was a long thread here at UM about the EmDrive so both Derek and I are very much aware of what it is and how the testing is going and that article says nothing about further evidence it actually works, in fact it is a rather negative take on the device. The problem is that the reaction is right at the edge of what the instruments can test. Maybe the only way to actually figure out if the mechanism works is to put one in space, turn it and see if it accelerates.
Comment icon #65 Posted by keithisco on 26 March, 2016, 7:53
The scientific community met these NASA tests with skepticism and a number of physicists proposed that the measured thrust force in the US, UK, and China tests was more likely due to (external to the EM Drive cavity) natural thermal convection currents arising from microwave heating (internal to the EM Drive cavity). However, Paul March, an engineer at NASA Eagleworks, recently reported in NASASpaceFlight.comís forum (on a thread now over 500,000 views) that NASA has successfully tested their EM Drive in a hard vacuum Ė the first time any organization has reported such a successful test. To th... [More]
Comment icon #66 Posted by Derek Willis on 26 March, 2016, 8:38
Also... please take note that the 3rd quarter testing performed at NASA Eagleworks is currently out for Peer Review which should provide a very good insight into whether or not the test results are reproducible, and under what conditions if they are. You might want to read this assessment of the work done by Prof. Martin Tajmar of Dresden University: http://io9.gizmodo.com/no-german-scientists-have-not-confirmed-the-impossibl-1720573809 Prof Tajmar made no claims that his tests had confirmed the truth of EM Drive, yet strangely some media outlets had! Also, note how the apparatus could produce... [More]


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