Science 18 Mar 2016 Russia plans Mars nu ...

Russia plans Mars nuclear engine in 2018

AGENCIES
Published Mar 18, 2016, 4:04 am IST
Updated Mar 18, 2016, 4:04 am IST
The country is betting on nuclear propulsion because it weighs almost half as much as a chemical rocket without reducing thrust.
Earlier, Europe and Russia launched a joint mission last Monday to explore the atmosphere of Mars and hunt for signs of life on the red planet. (Photo: AP)
 Earlier, Europe and Russia launched a joint mission last Monday to explore the atmosphere of Mars and hunt for signs of life on the red planet. (Photo: AP)

Moscow: Russia has announced that it will test a nuclear engine in 2018 that could help cosmonauts reach Mars in just six weeks, according to Mail Daily.  This compares to the 18 months spacecraft currently need to get to Mars, and could make Russia the first nation to land humans on the red planet.

The country is betting on nuclear propulsion because it weighs almost half as much as a chemical rocket without reducing thrust. This means larger payloads of cargo can be carried on the spacecraft and they can also be made to travel far faster. Unlike existing technology which uses defined trajectories, a nuclear engine also allows a spacecraft to manoeuvre throughout the flight.

 

The $274 million project, which was originally overseen by the space agency RosCosmos in 2010, has now become the responsibility of nuclear group, Rosatom. ‘A nuclear power unit makes it possible to reach Mars in a matter of one to one and a half months, providing capability for manoeuvring,’ Sergey Kirienko, head of Rosatom said.

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