UK Space Agency ties up with Rolls Royce to test nuclear technology to make the fastest spacecraft

The UK space agency intends to transmit a spacecraft to Mars in about half the time it takes currently to reach Mars. The firms strive to achieve it by using nuclear power-driven engines to be manufactured by Rolls Royce. The agency says that it conducted research with the engineering company. The study will discover the “game-changing potential” of nuclear power to transmit cosmonauts to Mars. This is because the time taken will be only three to four months. This is twice the speed of chemical engines that power our spacecraft today, making deep-space study possible in the years to come. The research, if fruitful, could transform space travel.

An administration report quotes Dr. Graham Turnock who is chief executive of the UK Space Agency. It mentions:

  • “Space nuclear power and propulsion is a game-changing idea. This can unravel potential deep-space operations that take us to Mars and beyond.”

It will not only save time but also fundamentally lower the radiation exposure to cosmonauts. These cosmonauts will be making upcoming journeys to Mars. The radiation dose rises the longer a cosmonaut spends in deep space. Which is away from the bubble of security provided by the Earth’s magnetosphere.

Nuclear-powered engines have long remained a field of significance for space researchers, as they endeavor to explore the world far away from us. In the 1950s, the United States made an attempt to build nuclear spacecraft technology. However, the program receives a termination later on because of which it made no progress. A tiny nuclear power generator for propulsion might come in useful as power in space enhances evermore. This is with a distance from the Sun and fuel cells are frequently too incoherent as a source of energy.

Dr. Turnock adds that this exploration will also facilitate them to know if this technology can benefit spacecraft travel. This is in comparison to the journey being further and faster than ever before.

Dave Gordon is UK Senior Vice President at Rolls Royce Defence. He says that there is “excitement” to be working on this plan as they remain to build the power. The power which “protects the Earth, safeguard our planet and discover our universe”. Rolls Royce earlier offered the nuclear propulsion technology for the Royal Navy’s submarines.

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