Nuclear engine to fly to Mars: Russia is preparing a space breakthrough

Return to the moon and flight to Mars - these are the main goals facing humanity in space exploration. But they can be achieved in various ways. American billionaire Ilon Musk proposes to build a "very large rocket", which will deliver the crew to the Red Planet. But in Russia, work is currently underway on a nuclear power propulsion system, which in the future will allow the creation of spacecraft of relatively modest sizes and establish a much greater speed when traveling between two neighboring planets.




Mask project, figuratively speaking, “not too technological". It involves the creation of a very large ship, the bulk of the mass of which will be fuel reserves - fuel and oxidizer. The interplanetary journey on chemical fuel is expected to be very long, approximately it will take 230 days. All this time, astronauts will be at increased risk of exposure to solar radiation.

But there is an alternative way to conquer the Red Planet and deep space. To do this, you need to create a ship that runs on nuclear fuel, capable of reaching the destination in less time. In particular, with a nuclear power of 50 MW, an apparatus weighing 100 tons will fly to Mars in just 40 Earth days. Sergey Kiriyenko, the head of Rosatom, commented on this as follows:

Today's spacecraft allow you to fly to Mars in a year and a half without the ability to return to Earth and without the possibility of maneuvering - they accelerate once and then go along the trajectory. The installation with a nuclear engine will allow you to fly to Mars in a month and a half and come back, since it retains the possibility of maneuvering.


As they say, feel the difference. But the reason everyone no longer flies on nuclear engines is their extreme complexity. Designers need to ensure the reliability and durability of power plants, to solve the problem of excess heat discharge.

Today, excess heat is removed through large radiators through which coolant circulates. If a meteorite hits it halfway to Mars, then wait for trouble. Russian scientists must be given credit: they were able to come up with a unique drip cooling system. At the same time, there is no need for bulky and vulnerable radiator pipes, and the design itself is significantly facilitated. In addition, our experts have developed a technology for creating particularly refractory materials that can work at extremely high temperatures.


In fact, this is a breakthrough in the complex task of creating a nuclear power plant. At the MAKS-2019 air show held in the suburbs of Moscow, a prototype of a nuclear engine was demonstrated. Its capacity is 1 MW. Apparent modesty does not mean anything, since it can be further increased by 10 times and 50.

All this is a big step, allowing Russia to get ahead of all its competitors. But this does not mean that we are ready to fly to Mars. First, a nuclear engine must first be assembled and tested. Work on the creation of the corresponding complex at the Vostochny Cosmodrome will not begin until 2030. It is also necessary to effectively solve the problem of protecting the crew from solar radiation. And, of course, such a project will require very significant funding.

But progress is underway, and it pleases that our science also does not stand still, but works ahead of the curve.
Photos used: https://wallpaperscave.ru/
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  1. Pishenkov Offline
    Pishenkov (Alexey) 6 September 2019 09: 52
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    Interesting. But I won’t be surprised at all if it turns out that this is also an initial development, begun back in Soviet times.
    1. voronok Offline
      voronok (Ilya Vorontsov) 6 September 2019 11: 49
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      And what is this? It all starts sometime. Global developments were made in the Soviet Union, some of which will be implemented only in our time.
    2. Nick Offline
      Nick (Nikolai) 6 September 2019 15: 04
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      Quote: Pyshenkov
      Interesting. But I won’t be surprised at all if it turns out that this is also an initial development, begun back in Soviet times.

      Atomic technologies began to be used in Soviet times, and they are being improved continuously. Now Russia is a leader in nuclear technology. Thanks to the domestic Rosatom!
  2. Marzhecki Offline
    Marzhecki (Sergei) 6 September 2019 10: 20
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    Quote: Pyshenkov
    Interesting. But I won’t be surprised at all if it turns out that this is also an initial development, begun back in Soviet times.

    How else? The USSR was ahead of time in many respects.
    1. Pishenkov Offline
      Pishenkov (Alexey) 6 September 2019 13: 22
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      It is interesting that in totalitarian regimes with a system of strict state regulation of the economy, creating breakthrough science is better than in democratic market capitalism. Apparently this is because the primary goal is still not fast fat, but state interests. In many technical parameters, the Third Reich was also 50 years ahead of its time ... and we still don’t know this, since it is still classified ...
      1. Oleg Rambover Online
        Oleg Rambover (Oleg Rambover) 7 September 2019 00: 49
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        You are wrong, at least with the Third Reich. The battle for the Atlantic was basically just a battle of technology and the Reich lost it.
        1. Pishenkov Offline
          Pishenkov (Alexey) 8 September 2019 23: 25
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          The battle for the Atlantic, like the rest of the US war from 1941 to 45, was a battle of economic resources. And that’s how her Reich lost. And on the bones of this Reich, the fruits of its scientific development were used by both the USA and the USSR, practically - equally, starting from the concept of military uniforms and small arms, through the organization and structuralization of production, to nuclear and missile technology. Speaking of the battle of technology and the loss of the Reich, you look at samples of the latest German submarines, tanks, aircraft, and what the United States and Britain then produced ... Incomparably. Just incomparable. But the volume of production was simply huge ... that’s the victory ... And in order to make breakthrough technologies, they brought the Germans to themselves. It is precisely those that you think they technologically lost ...
          1. Oleg Rambover Online
            Oleg Rambover (Oleg Rambover) 10 September 2019 00: 02
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            As far as I remember, one of the main reasons for the defeat was the backlog of Germany in the means of electronic warfare. Well, if you count the extrusion of German physicists of Jewish origin from the country, then yes, the US nuclear program is on the bones of the Third Reich (or Jews of the Third Reich). And by the way, the same fau program shows the monstrous inefficiency of a totalitarian system. The Germans put a ton of effort and money into the missile program only because the leader believed in it, and the effectiveness of these missiles was just ridiculous. All these new items, by and large, were a gesture of despair losing the country, clutching at a straw and adopting raw samples.

            In short, the connection between totalitarianism and breakthrough technologies is strained. There’s something in North Korea that there’s no breakthrough. And in the Stalinist USSR, I don’t remember something super-duper breakthrough. And after the USSR, it always acted as a catch-up.
            1. Pishenkov Offline
              Pishenkov (Alexey) 10 September 2019 09: 42
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              ... Germans had electronic warfare equipment, but there were problems not with their availability and quality, but again with mass production. The US nuclear and missile program was built precisely with those people who did the “Fau”, and not on the bones of the Jews of the Reich (I must say, a strange expression, I generally doubt that something could be built on these bones, except for criminal cases, of course).
              The Germans had a missile program then crude, it’s true, there were a lot of problems and mistakes, it’s also true. Most often, from the fact that commissioned in wartime still unfinished samples, etc. (the same with aviation, etc.), but the trick is that no one else had anything even close like that ...
              What about

              The USSR has always acted as a catch-up.

              - And the first satellite that Americans launched? Or can Gagarin come from Oklahoma? Not? And who did the world's best civilian nuclear power plants? And much more.
              Naturally, the attachment of dictatorship to progress is greatly exaggerated, but ... facts are facts ...
              1. Oleg Rambover Online
                Oleg Rambover (Oleg Rambover) 12 September 2019 00: 11
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                No no no. With electronic warfare there were problems. The Germans for a long time could not detect the radar emissions of the western radars, because they were sure that the radars could not work at such frequencies, and then for a long time the detectors themselves were giving out boats, because they were broadcasting something. The US nuclear program is not related to Germany.
                The satellite from Gagar, of course, is a breakthrough, but the lunar program is much more complicated. I don’t know anything about reactors. And all these achievements of the period of the liberal thaw of Khrushchev, and during the times of totalitarian Stalin, I don’t remember anything.
                1. Pishenkov Offline
                  Pishenkov (Alexey) 12 September 2019 11: 04
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                  I will not go into technological details, for a substantive conversation I would have to look at the materiel and refresh some knowledge, and for the sake of just an amateur discussion on the Internet, I do not want to do this, in truth. Specifically, the radar at that time was one of the new products and both sides had problems, especially since it helped the allies mainly in the fight against German aviation, and not against submarines. One of the trump cards with submarines was that Enigma fell into the hands of the Allies, whose code was decrypted, and the Germans did not realize this for a long time and continued to use it, losing ships and crews. Yes, and much more was there.
                  But my objection did not concern you with details, but that, in your opinion, the Reich lost the Atlantic to the USA in the “battle of technologies” - I repeat my point of view and I am sure that it is correct: the Reich lost and lost the USA only economically. Neither technologically nor in the military sphere, the Americans simply did not pull against Germany, and the main - both the material and human resources of the Germans, were devoured by the Eastern Front. Compared to this, the battles in the Atlantic are tears ... So there was no close "US technological victory" in the Atlantic ...
                  The US nuclear and missile program, like the USSR, was strongly connected with Germany, look at the materials ...
                  About the “backlog” of the USSR - I am surprised that you do not know anything about Soviet (now Russian) reactors, which in the world are still the best and have no analogues, both ship and stationary. And besides reactors, there are still many things ahead of us ...
                  I don’t know how generally it is adequate to compare the first Satellite or Gagarin’s flight with the Lunar program, everything is complicated, and even that and that, but becoming the first is always more difficult. And according to the American Lunar Program in general, there are a lot of questions, ranging from its practical significance and justification, to if all this was true at all. Exactly one thing - the US Lunar Program just wanted to “catch up” with the USSR in space in the eyes of the world community ... And this, again, is not about Stalin or Khrushchev, but to your statement that

                  The USSR has always acted as a catch-up.

                  with which I also disagree. And besides, such things are done for years and decades, and not under one or another leader. The Russian Federation still "eats up" Soviet developments. In addition, the USSR was a totalitarian state under Stalin, and under Khrushchev, and more ... But China is still a totalitarian country, and look where they are with their achievements and for how long ...
                  1. Oleg Rambover Online
                    Oleg Rambover (Oleg Rambover) 14 September 2019 00: 59
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                    You take an interest in the topic of radars, really lagging behind. I think, as in all radio electronics. And in underwater war played a prominent role. I remember, as a child, I read the art book "Cruiser Ulysses" about the northern convoys, so there, according to the plot, English ships tried to take advantage of the radars over German ones. And about Enigma, without the English computer, the British would not be able to decrypt messages even if this machine itself was available, but without encryption keys that changed every day.

                    Quote: Pyshenkov
                    Neither technologically nor in the military sphere, the Americans simply did not pull against Germany, and the main - both the material and human resources of the Germans, were devoured by the Eastern Front.

                    It hurts a bold statement. Penicillin in Germany could not be established. For example, the famous super-strengths had no analogues in the world. Aircraft carriers, the concentration of technological achievements, Germany didn’t have such a thing. And I want to remind you - the United States used nuclear weapons in that war, in Germany its development was in its infancy.

                    Quote: Pyshenkov
                    Compared to this, the battles in the Atlantic are tears ... So there was no close "US technological victory" in the Atlantic ...

                    As for the tears ... Yes, the human resources in this battle were insignificant, but the material resources were very large. And it was just a technological victory, it was a battle of technology and the western one turned out to be more perfect. Not the corpses, the Americans threw the German submariners.

                    For reactors, treatment is, for sure, especially after Chernobyl.
                    Many things? Have you been to Soviet production? I have already been in perestroika times and I will never believe that something advanced can be produced on that ancient equipment.

                    Quote: Pyshenkov
                    I don’t know how generally it is adequate to compare the first Satellite or Gagarin’s flight with the Lunar program, everything is complicated, and even that and that, but becoming the first is always more difficult.

                    Compare with the Soviet lunar program. They didn’t quite catch up, but competed, before that they lagged behind, they went around in the lunar program.
                    First, is it Fau-2 fascist?

                    This is probably a pointless argument. In some it was better, in others something. But on average, according to my feelings, the West was technologically and is more developed. And China will not soon be able, if it can, to do without Western technology.
  3. Nikolay Malyugin (Nikolai Malyugin) 6 September 2019 12: 38
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    To believe in a breakthrough in the future, you need to show it now.
  4. Marzhecki Offline
    Marzhecki (Sergei) 6 September 2019 12: 43
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    Quote: Nikolai Malyugin
    To believe in a breakthrough in the future, you need to show it now.

    The main thing here is to want to go to Mars. Then there will be an incentive to collect all this faster.
    The only question is why fly there, and what it will cost.
  5. Marzhecki Offline
    Marzhecki (Sergei) 6 September 2019 13: 28
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    Quote: Pyshenkov
    It is interesting that in totalitarian regimes with a system of tight state regulation of the economy, creating breakthrough science is better than in democratic market capitalism. Apparently, this is because the primary goal is still not fast fat, but state interests. In many technical parameters, the Third Reich was also 50 years ahead of its time ... and we still don’t know this, since it is still classified ...

    Both in totalitarian, and in authoritarian. The goal was set to state. level - everyone tensed and did. At the same time, a bunch of useful discoveries and inventions are being made.
    And why, under market capitalism, fly to Mars, to be honest? If it were sprinkled with diamonds, I would understand ...
    1. Pishenkov Offline
      Pishenkov (Alexey) 12 September 2019 11: 05
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      Yes, that's exactly how I meant it ... good
  6. Pooh Offline
    Pooh 6 September 2019 14: 56
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    2030. Before that, someone will certainly stumble - either the emir, or the donkey. And then go figure it out who knew theology better.
  7. AICO Offline
    AICO (Vyacheslav) 6 September 2019 16: 15
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    The trousers of the pontorezs would not have been torn from the effort of writing - there would be "byada" at all !!!
  8. Sergey Latyshev Offline
    Sergey Latyshev (Serge) 6 September 2019 22: 34
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    ABOUT! Another cheer breakthrough! As I recall, these projections of engine nuclei under the USSR were under 50 in different countries.
    And now, probably, under 500.
    It's time to promise something to Roscosmos. Landing on the Moon in 2016 (ops, already passed), or a satellite to Mars in 18-19 (about to pass), or something else to lie ...
    The holes remained unsolved ...
  9. Oleg Rambover Online
    Oleg Rambover (Oleg Rambover) 7 September 2019 00: 57
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    About ten years ago, they promised to create a working model in 2018. Now already in 2030 ... Progress, however.
  10. Wooh Offline
    Wooh (Barmaley) 7 September 2019 10: 04
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    Return to the moon ...

    There are so many facts that the Americans were not on the moon - from the word ABSOLUTELY. But some with the tenacity of a ram continue to hollow the heads of simple-minded readers with this tale. If the Americans were on the moon, then only the second. The first was Baron Munchausen!
    fellow tongue
    1. Oleg Rambover Online
      Oleg Rambover (Oleg Rambover) 8 September 2019 01: 12
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      Where did you see these facts? On REN TV?

      1. Wooh Offline
        Wooh (Barmaley) 16 September 2019 10: 35
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        Where did you see these facts? On REN TV?

        No, not on REN TV. I have more serious sources. In one of them: http://www.free-inform.narod.ru/
        1. Oleg Rambover Online
          Oleg Rambover (Oleg Rambover) 16 September 2019 13: 07
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          This is the source! Ren TV is not a good fit.
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