Can Nuclear Propulsion Take Us to Mars?

Real Engineering

1,4 млн көрүүлөр155

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    Writer/Narrator: Brian McManus
    Editor: Dylan Hennessy
    Animator: Mike Ridolfi
    Sound: Graham Haerther
    Fact Checker: Charlie Garcia
    Thumbnail: Simon Buckmaster

    [7] Rocket Propulsion Elements
    [14] &
    Thank you to AP Archive for access to their archival footage.

    Music by Epidemic Sound:


    Thank you to my patreon supporters: Adam Flohr, Henning Basma, Hank Green, William Leu, Tristan Edwards, Ian Dundore, John & Becki Johnston. Nevin Spoljaric, Jason Clark, Thomas Barth, Johnny MacDonald, Stephen Foland, Alfred Holzheu, Abdulrahman Abdulaziz Binghaith, Brent Higgins, Dexter Appleberry, Alex Pavek, Marko Hirsch, Mikkel Johansen, Hibiyi Mori. Viktor Józsa, Ron Hochsprung

    күнү жарыяланды 20 күн мурун


    1. Real Engineering

      Woops. The outro audio revealed Real Sciences next video by mistake. It's gonna be a banger though, ye should subscribe.

      1. redamatter

        Slate oversight nuclear power would not be the only thing that I'd be able to do that fusion power would also be able to do it but as you probably know that's not really currently within reach

      2. mehmet demir

        questions: 1. why can't an electron gun like one used in cathode tube be used to provide thrust? in that case there would not a need for a propellant. 2. fission reaction releases neutrons at speeds around 20000 km/s. can't that be directly used to provide thrust?

      3. Solar's Storys

        @wisdom seeker good work,

      4. Doesn't Jump to conclusions


      5. a24396

        Banger videos are tight!

    2. Stephen Sheldon

      When are we going to Mars

    3. Mohd Aamir

      can u pls follow up on the analysis of hydrogen as fuel for automobiles...???

    4. sohrab roshan


    5. NO NAME


    6. Aulya

      This video is very fun and easy to learn, unless if you look at the comment seeing Delusional people thinking its all fake and its all CGI.


      if you could only know the Truth about zero Point Energy/travel, but the mil. Ind. Comp. already tackled that long ago.


      Talk to David Adair, the rocket he made the fastest rocket ever took off at 8 thousand miles in 4 seconds and I believe him because he was rocket builder since young kid >>>>> >>>

    9. Ian Green

      Thinking about the space junk that has gathered and has to be tracked mostly around Earth since the 1950s, what is the effect on space vehicles and space stations encountering ion streams or other particles with high velocities that might be found in planetary or solar orbits and where will those particles go? Are they, at 40 km/s at any kind of escape velocity? Will they tend to reenter Earth's, the moon and Mars' orbits?

    10. SR71BETA

      Thumbnail shows a ship from the Martian film the Hermes. Was a good futuristic ship that NASA might build one day.

    11. FuckTheMainstreamMedia ULYINGFILTH

      I don't even believe that man has set foot on the moon,it was all a lie. How am I supposed to believe anything NASA and the government says??

    12. George Kymany

      Just a quick reminder folks, there's absolutely no escape from planet earth. Just Take good care of this beautiful world full of abundance of everything us humans and all other lives require to thrive. It's a waste of money trying to escape because it's forbidden by mother nature.

    13. Mikael Marvin

      i got an idea for a video... talk about memristors! those are some nanoelectronics elements that have very interesting properties and aplications

    14. Amirali Boisov

      Make a video about a sky hook

    15. Future Technology

      Future Technology 👈

    16. Dont Knowler

      In the nuclear powered ion drive, cannot you use xeon as reactor coolant, so that it carries heat away from the reactor into the ion drive chamber?

    17. Soteriology101

      What about Liquid Fluoride Thorium Molten Salt Reactors? They gonna use something in space that they will not allow us to use on earth?

    18. Rives Doe

      Why do we want to leave a perfectly good planet? It just seems dumb.

    19. Gino

      What's the song that was playing around 12:00 - 12:20

    20. JULEMANDEN99

      Em drive were debuked by showing the warping in the system calculating its trust value. Making a new zero when warped by heat so it looked like propusion where there were non, they used another type of heat to show the error.

    21. Chasing Capsaicin

      The need for metallic hydrogen is real, really close to reality.

    22. kantraxo ikol

      and yet we're STILL under the delusion we can colonize it's a backyard camp trip....not gonna happen with our current tech

    23. D Gillies

      xenon is a rare earth element only 1 part in 20,000,000 part in earth's atmosphere. krypton is far more common found in 1 part in 1,000,000 in earth's atmosphere.

    24. Ottee2

      What say you, Elon? Elon: I on it.

    25. MATTWER

      Pretty amazing for a species that just figured out flight in 1903.

    26. Kevin Olmeda

      Can you do a video on how the hoover dam was created. Idea came from after seeing a cringe tiktok'er trying to explain how it was impossible to build but does not bother to pay attention to the engineering of it.

    27. Nelson Wong

      What's the song at 9:57?

    28. money talks

      Hope not. So destructive animals like human should stay on one planet which already destroyed. Let s look at planet Earth from global view wars, famine, primitive monetary system causes poverty... and do you wanna fly on another planets? Seriously? I would say first get evolved then travel. Do not spread stupidity over the universe.

    29. Cezary Krasnodębski

      Wonderful content!

    30. Mike McCloskey

      "Using gravity assists to visit our closest neighbors makes little sense". Uhm, perhaps you meant to say "RELYING upon gravity assists to visit our closest neighbors sucks". There is nothing inherently wrong with using gravity assists when they are available.

    31. whiterabbitangel

      isn’t space colder then the hydrogen so what’s the challenge keeping it in cryogenic temperature ?

    32. DJ Ash

      Hopefully we won’t need Nuclear Power innovation will ding a Better Way

    33. VirtualEnglishStudio


    34. Audit Recon

      Why can’t we build spaceships in space?

    35. Thegoodtom 1

      The solution is simple. Stage the launch from the moon. It saves the fuel needed for escape velocity.

    36. Matthew Sermons

      My hope is to see Linear Magnetic Accelerators on the Moon. I see this as a practical way of getting mostly supplies to Mars and beyond. To slow down the "Packages", I envision a series of cells at the front of the craft consisting of alternating layers of Lunar Regolith and explosive charges. Basically shedding mass in the direction of travel should take the velocity down to a manageable level.

    37. Baldur Vizla

      Crap, it’s about temperature, reactors have low temperatures

    38. Lukas w.


    39. AlrightyDave

      Absolutely perfect video. Love these rocket science videos. Fun to watch and even beats school in terms of how much there is to learn! Really wish schools would recognize how great your videos are and promote them.

    40. dinger40

      Maybe but the Intergalactic laxative can.

    41. Jason Snyder

      Some simple but hopefully effective solutions I have to some of the problems you present are: 1. Nuclear electric ion drive cargo / fuel hauler with LOX/LNG engines for short, quick delta-v burns such as orbital capture. At this maybe focus on getting a good LFTR reactor built with dual stage power generation in order to minimize radiator size and maximize power output. Even molten sodium reactors that have been run on Earth for decades would be a huge step up from light water reactors. If you have SpaceX's Starship making many trips to LEO between transfer windows, these reactors may end up being on the GWe scale. For dual stage power generation from LFTR, the main reactor loop would have molten salts. Then go through a heat exchanger to a helium loop driving gas turbines. After this use a custom phase change fluid not too unlike what they use to cool crypto mining rigs except optimized to a different temperature determined to be best for the secondary loop where it is also easy to condense back into a fluid in a closed loop when cooled (like what they do with refrigerants. Then cooled back to the optimal input temperatures through space radiators. With most of your mass on this robotic ship including as much fuel mass as possible, it opens options for what can be done with the passenger ship. 2. Use nuclear thermal for reusable rocket boosters on the crewed ship to help it break free of Earth's gravity and then fly back to LEO. Maybe even aerobrake the boosters when getting back into LEO if it makes sense to. This way a lot of your delta-v for the mission comes from rocket components that only are fueled for a short period of time and then have a long stay in Earth's orbit where they can be inspected relatively easily and prepared for the next mission in a couple of years. 3. If you end up needing to minimize the time hydrogen is stored and can't get around it, the crewed ship could do a combination of using LOX/LNG after the nuclear thermal boosters have done what they can do and separate to return to LEO and use nuclear electric like what is described above to speed along the 'coast' phase of the mission. 4. Especially if you are doing thousands of Starship launches between transfer windows like Elon Musk talks about doing, not sure why a large ship couldn't have a variety of propulsion systems on board and dedicated engines for each propulsion system? 5. While not a topic of this video, going to large transfer ships to Mars can also help tackle a number of other issues with making the journey to Mars and beyond such as radiation shielding as surface area is a square factor where volume is a cubic factor, artificial gravity as with size you can make slower spinning drums to get the same amount of centripetal force as smaller rings, and fuel to Mars as a big robotic cargo and fuel hauler using ion propulsion can efficiently move that fuel into Mars' orbit. I suppose this would also kill your very long ship graphic as the surface area minimization deal for radiation shielding as well as artificial gravity pushes the design to more of a fat cylinder or even a double bubble where two counter-rotating cylinders are placed next to each other so they can counter-balance the torque of spinning up and down as well as providing good stability to keep the ship oriented correctly. With a stationary outer shell around the cylinder(s) containing the radiation shield, which itself would probably largely be composed of supplies and then compressed garbage / waste as the mission continues on, there would be less structural stress on the rotating cylinder(s) to hold all of this shielding material.

    42. Daniel De Carufel

      I do not know if it can take us to Mars but one thing is sure is that it will take us Hell ,Destruction and DEATH.

    43. Jacob Greer

      Taking screenshots and going to study this! Gonna watch this over and over again lol

    44. JC Maxie

      44k stupid blind people!

    45. Bum Booz

      A nuclear weapon will send us to kingdom come though.

    46. r vanden

      Great video. Gives a very good bird's eye view of the problem of propulsion in space. I like the hybrid ion/ntr idea. Assuming the long-term hydrogen storage problem can be solved, how long would a non-gravity assisted flight that would go into orbit around Sedna take using such an ion/ntr hybrid? Assume a payload mass of ~1,000 kg. I'd love to see a calculation of a mission like that. Mars is not the only game it town.

    47. IDNeon357

      I solved your Hydrogen problem. Store Hydrogen as H2O. Use the nuclear energy to break H2O into 2H2 and O2. Use O2 for oxygen replenishment and use the H2 for fuel.

    48. Tl Cheeto

      Uhuhhh he said Uranus Beavis...

    49. Travelling Shadurs


    50. STEVEN R

      👎 Pushed a bit to hard... Brilliant

    51. tash

      why he keeps calling it mers

    52. Kay Uwe Böhm

      A380 mit 4 Flügeln vorne höher gesetzt. Erstmal in Modellbaugröße trotzdem erstes Endprodukt eine militärische Drohne mit drehbaren Antrieben an Flügeln so schneller und sparsamer bei Panzerhaubitze mit 50kg SBX und oder Lasermarker für 155mm Vulcano Munition und 700kg MBDA CBN CNG O2 Luft Rakete erst mit CO2 aus Panzer oder Torpedröhre hoch geworfen. Nächstes Produkt zum verdienen A380 mit CNG billig und sicherer geflogen für vertikales starten mit O2 aus Tank geboostet. Dann Hypersonic mit Hülle aus TiB2 Vakuum oder Gaskammerisolierung mit dünnen Trennwänden zu Titan Legierung Hülle innen dabei innen gekühlt mit CNG Gasentspannung im All dann mit O2 aus Tank weiter. Titan statt zu teuer über Kroll Cl2 Reduktion von TiO2 über H2 zu TiH2 bei Hitze und CaH Katalysator dann über 1000°C erhitzt die vollständige Zersetzung zu Ti und H2 gleich heiß Legierung und Walzen dazu usw. City Maglev System über Straßen usw. mit kleinen Kabinen (4 ?) und Containern die nonstop automatisch von Seitgleis zu Seitgleis fahren inkl. einfädeln mit Touchscreen/Handy Zieleingabe und Zusteigen optional. Seitlich bewegliche Kufen von oben mit Neodym und auf 1 cm geregelt Stabmagneten zwischen rechts und links nach innen offenen U-Profilen aus Stahl unten magnetisiert für Gegenfeld dazu auch seitlich magnetisiert abwechselnd in Richtung für Linearmotor und seitlich beidseitig mit Kufen geregelt anziehend bei Weiche nur an eine Seite gegen abstoßende Magnete auf anderer Seite aus U-Profil raus nur von unten her mit da starkem Gegenmagnetismus hoch haltend.

    53. Kay Uwe Böhm

      Yes but not that way in video ! Build a starship using Hg ring accelerators like small LHC with counter rotator ring shooting into water tubes for ship acceleration in shooting direction from linear slow down not loosing any Hg mass and cold fusion from Hg H->H punsh or Li-7 Th HTR as energy source with CO2 turbines cf compressor backflow cooling of all thermal isolated that way standing eternal in air any planet or altitude slowly up with 1g+ after less 1 year near c in space with biotop water tank cells and el. mg. shield etc. CO2 can be easy captured out of air with gas centrifuge since more heavy than O2 & N2 but together with also heavy Ar argon but if left inside exrract not reacting with H2 like CO2 to CH4 for CNG production in zero carbon cycle using electrolyse H2 with energy from water power, nuclear RBN Th pebble bed HTR or cold fusion power shooting Hg into H2O or aircondition not using but delivering energy and water out of air sucked with cf compressor cooled with CO2 for near 100% efficient CO2 compressor backflow cooled turbines. @John Goldsworthy Hg spallation if shoot in H2O can be used also for Hg-197 epsilon decay gold. Letters turned dog was god. Tesla Inc. financial quarter 4 2020 results out today ! Hurricanes to stop letting up black carbon soot in eye chimney into upper system until darkened heated by sun until eye wall broken. @John Goldsworthy Hg spallation if shoot in H2O can be used also for Hg-197 epsilon decay gold. Letters turned dog was god. Tesla Inc. financial quarter 4 2020 results out today ! Hurricanes to stop letting up black carbon soot in eye chimney into upper system until darkened heated by sun until eye wall broken. Booster also reusable already ? Small maneuvering engines to see in video already finished ? Why docked at engine part for refueling ? Heat shield added for earth and mars landing ? After landing first time on mars or moon not falling to side ? Own design approach was about thick A320 with 4 wings at front higher outside turnable with engines starting and landing flat also for more lift iff weight same power on normal airport on mars vertical start and landing after transition. Also inside uncooled high pressure tanks for CH4+O2 and rocket engines with swiveld in air from cone inlet saving O2. Shell out of TiB2+isolation+Ti alloy. Isolation material air distance or nano tube fibre orthogonal isolating parallel heat moving or inert gas foamed stone etc. etc. ? Better all canceled for big ship that can stand any altitude in air on earth or any planet slowly up and down with 1g+ acceleration after less 1 year near c in space with eternal survival inside not needing anything from outside only a little condensed water for cold fusion energy but high cell tank shield biotop water reserve also for plancton and fish etc. with combination of Hg H>H punsh fusion in H2O shooting Hg from crossed double el. mg. counter ring accelerators into water tubes with room also attached to rotating rings and CO2 tesla turbines with cf compressor backflow cooling of all taking not loosing any heat. Inside H2O electrolyse O2 and H2 with CO2 to CH4 and H2O then CH4 used or burned away for CO2/O2 regulation added to photosynthese biotop, generator, positrons torpedos, liquid metal beam gun etc.

    54. Lin Yen Chin

      Any is pronounced en-ee not "ah-knee." Gravity asist in plural is just the same as singular; assist. *Mouth-breather overuse of the suffix "s," is vile.*

    55. Lin Yen Chin

      Thanks, mouth-breathing beast.

    56. Leshaun Jenkins

      make me think about the future of Black America! what have we contribute to human progress.. make me feel sad!

    57. DalejMobile Dalej

      space is cold. just keep the hydrogen away from the sun and we're cool.

    58. Chaos X Otaku

      If heat is a problem for ion thrusters why not use that heat with another combustion engine to expell that heat

    59. Shauka Hodan

      offered a chance to teach at the Polish National Academy of Mathematics in 1976 but the US Department of Energy would not allow it.


      What about Nuclear Salt Water Rockets? Basically the rocket uses a continuous nuclear explosion to propel itself forward unlike a nuclear pulse rocket that uses multiple explosions. The performance of a NSWR is insane with an exhaust velocity of 66km/s and a specific impulse of 6,730 seconds and thrust similar to a chemical rocket. (Just don't use it to get off a planet's surface)

      1. Shauka Hodan

        hydrogen when needed, and not only can that oxygen be used by the crew but also as a chemical thrust which may possibly speed it up even more

    61. Star Commander

      You should have said far side of the moon. The sun shines on all sides of the moon just like the earth. Only time the far side is totally in the dark is when we have a full moon .

    62. cgarzs

      The hydrogen storage problem is nothing compared to the radiophobe problem. Unless maybe you rename the engine fluffy rainbow propulsion machine lol

    63. Orlando Luis

      Perhaps, but electromagnetic propulsion is cleaner, faster and safer. This is the key for colonization. Perhaps it is still too early.

    64. Afterburner

      Perhaps the answer for storage of the hydrogen is to mitigate loss by using some form of recapture - A tank within a tank to direct lost hydrogen to a recovery system for re-injection back to the main tank. Or... perhaps a tank made using meta-materials that would do a better job of preventing the losses in the first place?

    65. The Dabbling Warlock

      Have you ever looked into Zurbin’s nuclear saltwater rocket? I’d be interested to hear what you thing of it.

    66. balaji hustler


    67. Zed Williams

      What about the Project Orion option? Explode nuclear bombs under the bottom of the rocket, and get some very high speeds.

    68. Drumkommandr

      Short answer: yes! Longer answer: yes, but the people who make that decision are terrified of backlash at the propaganda that we're irradiating space, and should that happen, no amount of showing people how fast it disperses will allow it to be. Thus, it's more practical for a non- government group to do so, and to complete it without the knowledge of world powers until the moment you fire that bad boy up.

    69. Song Osun

      Dude you never mentioned even once in the video what that trust is pushing against to make your spaceship move in the vacuum of space!!! If there is nothing to push against you can't make a spaceship move! On earth we can create a trust which pushes against the air, the water the ground and it in turn trusts the rocket, airplane, ship, etc. forward. So what is the jet stream pushes against in space where there is no medium like gas, liquid , ect. to push against ?

    70. sokin jon

      the wrong passport. Way to go.

    71. Blowout Entertainment Nepal

      I think it may cause radioactive pollution all over the world

    72. Geeman Funman

      Use magnets

      1. sokin jon

        Using the slingshot method could help get to Mars faster though be it with nuclear power, laser power, or whatever but that would require radiation protection for the crew if las

    73. Geeman Funman

      Waste of time, ufo don’t need fuel and rockets,

    74. Blah Anger

      That's the wrong questiion imo, it should be; Why ffs?

    75. Elmer Cheng

      Don't forget that God has made giant nuclear reactor for us the SUN. Why don't we just make a huge lens or reflection board in front of Sun to collect light from it and transform into Laser . Laser provides endless energy for any kind of space ships. According to E=mC^2 mass also can be made by Energy. We could make any kind of materials in Space to build any thing we want.

    76. Sam Picken

      For the hydrogen problem, what if they store it as water, that way you’ll need a lot of it and it’ll be heavy but that also means that it’ll be stable and you can split it for oxygen and hydrogen when needed, and not only can that oxygen be used by the crew but also as a chemical thrust which may possibly speed it up even more

      1. Matthew Matthewq

        The other thing is the water can be used as part of the radiation shielding.

    77. Ethan Horvitz

      Shooting uranium into space on a rocket that has about 1% chance of blowing up in the atmosphere is a RETARDED idea...

      1. Not A Stone

        build it in space.. problem solved. we need to start mining space and building industry up there anyways.

    78. Shaun Stephens

      I'm a bit miffed that you didn't explain how the heat of a radioactive reaction was going to be converted to electricity in a spacecraft. Is TEG tech up to the job yet? I guess with nuclear it doesn't have to be super-efficient but it would have to be reliable. Or am I missing something? Is there a more direct method of converting the heat into electricity?

    79. dark azurr

      shouldnt we be manufacturing these ships in space ? and keep them in space

    80. Андрей Вальчук

      I am wondering, no one word about actually ready-to-launch the russian nuclear space tug Nuclon.

    81. justpaulo

      This video marries well with the following Scott Manley's videos:

      1. justpaulo

        @pida siouy Although the lack of gravity does impact vision (among other things): astronauts don't go blind after an year Also, with such powerful rockets, at least nearby solar system missions, would become "short", diminishing the impact of zero gravity. Last but not least we have ways to create artificial gravity by spinning the astronauts. That would be easy to do compared to building a nuclear propulsion rocket.

    82. Michael Belford

      Good talk. Britain has already bought F-35s of course

    83. BMW-GS-1250 Eli C.

      Humans are the weak link to Mars...We are Weak & Fragile....Mars is Suicide for Humans.

    84. 5o5kY

      Can't wait to be an old man and see how astronauts go to Mers

    85. Linux dude

      Please keep your videos small.

    86. Zuliyanti

      Woow its good video Sir. I like it

    87. Michael McKinnon

      Using the slingshot method could help get to Mars faster though be it with nuclear power, laser power, or whatever but that would require radiation protection for the crew if laser, Ion or nuclear propulsion but an explosion (even a controlled one) is 100,000 times less powerful beyond earth's atmosphere than it would be on earth and for space travel liquid nitrogen would be the best coolant for beyond earth's atmosphere

    88. Math & Coding

      One thing that bothered me throughout the whole video: It's astEroid, NOT astroid. Edit: Astroid is a math curve:

    89. bomgui

      if this video is around 100 years from now, I hope we are looking back at it and thinking "wow, this is what it must have felt like for them to look at a video of the model ford"

    90. seiom jvony

      I will watch this seven times, so I digest 70% of its meaning.

    91. Blinky Bill

      Could we not store it as ammonia until we need to convert it to hydrogen like the CSIRO has done?

    92. AppZ1337

      Why was voyager 2 faster than the first one? It only had 2 oh the 4 planets to speed up. Voyager 1 actually slows down on the fly by o:

      1. seiom jvony

        Colonise Mars, a dream of idiots.

    93. psycronizer

      Answer : Um.....yes, yes it can.

    94. DrinkinSlim

      Nice video, though you paused between many of the words for some reason. :)

    95. Josh Vonhauger

      odd we dont send sat based lasers into mars orbit could be used to slow the rocket if a solar sail was deployed

    96. tater anus

      I know of another problem with manned interplanetary missions, while resistive exercise can almost eliminate the bone and muscle loss from long duration spaceflight, in about a year you will go blind because your eyes depend on gravity for a lot of things, and we don't know of any way to solve that problem.

    97. Seenivasan Narayanan

      Excellent explanation sir and valuable videos 🙏

    98. Олег Агафонов

      Russian done that engine and spacecraft. And goes to mars in 2033.

    99. Zeta_Legion

      Makes me want to play Stellaris.

    100. Covid Delusion B117

      The aliens are here no reason to go space anymore They are currently in Quarantine