NASA's Roadmap to the Nuclear Thermal Rocket

July 9, 2012, 6:00AMANS Nuclear CafeWes Deason

It is certainly exciting times for NASA and the space nuclear community, as physical testing of nuclear thermal rockets (NTRs) and associated components has begun at NASA and the Department of Energy laboratories across the country. Nuclear thermal propulsion, as discussed in a previous article, is just one form of nuclear propulsion with extensive research behind it, and the only form with an extensive testing background. Near-term efforts by NASA will focus on preparation for ground and flight tests of a scalable Nuclear Thermal Rocket around 2020. However, the larger purpose of the recently restarted testing track is to develop an engine for manned travel to an asteroid, and eventually to our neighboring planet, Mars.

Shannon Bragg-Sitton of INL discusses nuclear space applications

November 30, 2011, 7:00AMANS Nuclear Cafe

Shannon Bragg-Sitton of Idaho National Laboratory discusses nuclear applications for space missions, including the Mars Curiosity rover launched last Saturday, and the upcoming American Nuclear Society Nuclear and Emerging Technologies for Space (NETS) topical meeting, on March 21-23, in The Woodlands, Tex., held in conjunction with the March 19-23 Lunar and Planetary Sciences Conference. Please check the links above for more info.

Space, the final nuclear frontier: NETS-2011

January 31, 2011, 7:00AMANS Nuclear CafePaul Bowersox

From high in orbit above planet Earth... to the dusty surface of the moon... to the stunning cloud tops and moons of Jupiter... to the dazzling rings of Saturn... even to the darkness at the edge of interstellar space-nuclear technology has made possible incredible journeys to extraordinary destinations in our Solar System, and opened doors to some of the most profound discoveries of all time. Yet, the future of nuclear technology for space exploration promises even more remarkable journeys and more amazing discoveries.