Nuclear thermal rockets bring speed and security for space transport

By Hudson Lucio Bignardi |

Two American government agencies, National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), are working together to create a nuclear thermal powered rocket to reach the Moon and Mars quickly. Faster travel would reduce crew exposure to dangerous space radiation. The technology offers possibilities for advancement in space exploration, as it converts the area used for rocket propulsion into payload area (it reduces fuel storage space by 50%). In addition, it promotes higher efficiency in power generation, being 107 times greater in energy potential than chemicals.

Impacts on Defense and Security:  In Brazil, research on technologies related to nuclear energy and propulsion could bring society closer to two areas of the National Defense Strategy: Nuclear and Space. Research on nuclear reactor compaction and energy efficiency can produce dual technologies of interest for naval vessel propulsion, space exploration and sustainable energy.

Source:  ANDRION, Roseli. Nasa may have nuclear-powered rockets soon. In: Olhar Digital. 2019. Available at:


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