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January 27 2013

Nuclear-Powered Rocket Could Reach Mars for Less

A new online petition seeks to send people into space sooner, using a Kennedy-era technology that never had the chance to take flight. At We the People, a website that lets users submit petitions to the Obama Administration, one petition urges officials to "harness the full intellectual and industrial strength of our universities, national laboratories and private enterprise to rapidly develop and deploy a nuclear thermal rocket."

What does that mean? And should you sign the petition? Well, nuclear thermal rockets could play a major role in sending people to other planets in the future. The rockets are at least twice as efficient as current chemical rockets, which means they could carry more supplies, support heavier shields against cosmic radiation and take astronauts to other planets more quickly.

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