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Military weapon system test fails to intercept target

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To safely explore the solar system and beyond, spaceships need to go faster – nuclear-powered rockets may be the answer

Over the last 50 years, a lot has changed in rocketry. The fuel that powers spaceflight might finally be changing too. CSA-Printstock/DIgital Vision Vectors via Getty ImagesWith dreams of Mars on the minds of both NASA and Elon Musk, long-distance crewed missions through space are coming. But you might be surprised to learn that modern rockets don’t go all that much faster than the rockets of the past. There are a lot of reasons that a faster spaceship is a better one, and nuclear-powered rockets are a way to do this. They offer many benefits over traditional fuel-burning rockets or modern solar-powered electric rockets, but there have been only eight U.S. space launches carrying nuclear reactors in the last 40 years. However, in 2019 the laws regulating nuclear space flights changed and work has already begun on…

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