NASA restarted a program a few years ago to look at technology that researchers spent decades working on as early as the 1950’s. If successful, this groundbreaking concept will dramatically reduce the amount of time it will take for manned missions to Mars. How much so? It currently takes anywhere from between six to nine months in transit to get to Mars. The new technology will take as little as forty-five days. If realized, this will be a giant leap forward towards realistic space travel!
Intrepid Leadership Matrix readers will remember It’s a Whole New World!, which featured a NASA video of the Perseverance Rover’s decent and touchdown on Mars in 2021. For context, it took Perseverance about seven months to make the nearly 300 million mile journey!
The technology that is getting a fresh look is called nuclear propulsion. Researchers have studied two forms of nuclear propulsion. The first form is Nuclear-Thermal Propulsion (NTP), which entails heating liquid hydrogen propellant in a nuclear reactor, which turns it into thrust-generating plasma. The other form is Nuclear-Electric Propulsion (NEP), which uses a nuclear reactor to generate electricity for an engine capable of producing an electromagnetic field to ionize gas to use as thrust. The renewed efforts are starting to yield results, as progress is being made on the feasibility of Bimodal NTP/NEP technology to power rockets to Mars– and beyond!
Here is a NASA press release and a story on plans in store as this new technology is developed. What are your thoughts on space travel? Click to email me here.
~ Brian Kasal- The Leadership Matrix
For the fun of it, here’s the first Leadership Matrix post from the New Year, that also touched upon some space-related milestones – Shooting for the Moon and Reaching for the Stars in 2023
P.S.- Did you see my last Leadership Matrix post? It’s a Bird, It’s a Plane! It’s an Update on the Airline Industry.