The Solar System is a really big place, and it takes forever to travel from world to world with traditional chemical rockets. But one technique, developed back in the 1960s might provide a way to dramatically shorten our travel times: nuclear rockets.
Of course, launching a rocket powered by radioactive material has its own risks as well. Should we attempt it?
Let’s say that you wanted to visit Mars using a chemical rocket. You would blast off from Earth and go into low Earth orbit. Then, at the right moment, you’d fire your rocket, raising your orbit from the Sun. The new elliptical trajectory you’re following intersects with Mars after eight months of flight.
We need to go faster.
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