Astronauts Could Reach Mars Faster Using Nuclear-Powered Spacecraft

Ultra Safe Nuclear Technologies, a Seattle-based company, suggested using nuclear thermal propulsion (NTP) engines to fly the astronauts from Earth to Mars. The proposal is said to potentially transport humans to Mars in three months' time. That is much faster than the current engine design that would take almost nine months for a crewed mission to reach the red planet.

Michael Eades, director of engineering at USNC-Tech, says that nuclear-powered rockets would be more powerful and twice as efficient as the chemical engines used today, meaning they could travel further and faster, while burning less fuel.
"Nuclear technology will expand humanity's reach beyond low Earth orbit, and into deep space," he tells CNN.
As well as enabling human space travel, it could open up space for galactic business opportunities, he says.

Though this might be a good plan, there are still some questions about safety which need further study.

(Image Credit: USNC-TECH/ CNN)


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Earlier parts of the Beginnings Project have proposed a previous nuclear-powered engine to reach Mars as well. To support nuclear energy. This seems faster than expected. Or maybe acceleration at 1 gram uses an insane amount of fuel and will really only last an hour.
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The article says the proposed vehicle uses nuclear thermal propulsion, not nuclear pulse propulsion. I used the average distance to Mars, because the link refers to it as "on average around 140 million miles away". Mars 2020 is using low-energy Hohmann transfer orbit. A three month transit requires a higher-energy orbit, resulting in a shorter travel distance than a low-energy orbit. I don't know how much shorter. My goal was to show that the overall g-force could be very low, though I made the wrong assumption about how the engine operates. A longer trip needs less energy and less (integrated) g-force.
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It's actually "drop tiny nuclear bombs and have them detonate behind you". So not smooth. But is then smoothed out by having the rear part of the ship as a giant shock absorber. Still, it's not like the constant acceleration type stuff we are used to. Also, your estimate of trip length is very wrong, 480 million km is a better estimate: https://mars.nasa.gov/mars2020/timeline/cruise
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