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NASA Is Bringing Back Cold War-Era Atomic Rockets to Get to Mars

Nuclear-powered spacecraft would cut travel time to the Red Planet
Bloomberg business news

Outer Space Is About to Get a Whole Lot Closer

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In the race to land humans on Mars, NASA is blowing the cobwebs off a technology it shelved in the 1970s — nuclear-powered rockets.

Last year, NASA partnered with BWXT Nuclear Energy Inc. for an $18.8 million contract to design a reactor and develop fuel for use in a nuclear-thermal propulsion engine for deep-space travel. While that small start is a long way from the the heady days of the Space Race of the Cold War, it marks the U.S. return to an idea that is also being pursued by Russia and China.