Can Nuclear Propulsion Take Us to Mars?

Dipublikasikan tanggal 16 Apr 2021
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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] &
[17] .

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


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

    • A helium molecule is 4 times heavier than a hydrogen ATOM (H), but only 2 times heavier (more massive) than a hydrogen molecule (H2).

    • As a student of mechanical engineering, I'm speechless, that was a really intriguing, insightful, and inspiring video, well done.👍

    • I have an idea to solve the hydrogen storage issue, we keep the hydrogen in the form of ammonia, which is much easier to store for long peroids of time and is actually denser than liquid hydrogen. When its time to use the hydrogen the ammonia is split into nitrogen and hydrogen, the hydrogen is used as fuel while nitrogen can be added to the atmosphere inside the spacecraft.

    • 14 that's how much you pay for a big bottle drop

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

    • Yeah for sure.

    • @ZARA VIBES what destruction the earth will be here when we are here or not earth isnt dying we are and we are doing it to ourself

    • I don’t like that species very much

    • Unfortunately that species has hit a speed wall both on Earth and in Space. Our Milky Way alone is over 100,000 light years across, so traveling even AT the speed of light, it would take an enormous amount to time to explore our so called back yard, let alone other galaxies. It's pretty sobering, but till we can achieve true FTL (Faster Than Light travel), we're going nowhere fast in out own little galactic prison.

    • @Layne McCormic You would have missed Elvis.

  • I'm a 72 year old retired mechanical engineer and really feel lucky to have lived during the time we began to explore space with methods other than just telescopes. Just hope I live long enough to see a manned mission to Mars. Fingers crossed! Having just discovered your channel, I'm doing a little binge watching. Keep up the great videos.

    • @Tee Jay Aich Yeah, we learned about climate crisis from SpaceEx Satellite tech. When learned Moon is a dusty barren rock, where the dust is so aggressive you can't do anything on it. We send a rover to Mars and learned it is a barren rock as well. Unless someone understands gravity and builds an interstellar faster than light antigrav drive we are on Earth as Planet A. If you ask to waste 16 Megatons for a liftoff, you have to explain the true benefit of a manned mission to Mars over the downsides. Fact is, you can not get back. No lander can get back into orbit w/o fuel production n Mars. A place where you have neither fossile fuel or water. Nothing Mars would be ever sustainable. Nuclear terraforming is a very remote option. It would still ask to live under substantially different gravity. Sorry, but if you claim "science" you are not supposed to wander off into some delusionary dreamlands. People in the US always dream about a "New Frontier". That's culture mumbo-jumbo not science. The is insurmountable physics in the way where we need at least 150 years to come up with solutions. Solutions that need another league of understanding space and physics of gravity. Means if grvity is particles or rays and how fast "instantaneous" is. If gravity is a push or pull force in it's "field". What a quantum of gravity is? If you can answer any of these you can shield a Mars Mission modules and colony ship from microparticle impact accelerating a vehicle to light speed. There is amazing talks about the challenges of Mars missions. Maybe entertain yourself with some good science and put thought and creativity in a productive direction for humanity.

    • I hope you stick around as long as you like, and while it's clear there are massive unresolved problems with Mars as a colony world, my attitude is pretty much that we have to do such things eventually, and given the incalculable benefits which the moon landings produced (not just tech, but most of all INSPIRING thousands of young people into becoming various types of scientist/engineer/etc --- if we could quantify the benefits of inspiring those generations I reckon it would be beyond our wildest dreams. This sort of thing costs peanuts right now (few % for the USA, which spends trillions on stupid wars at the same time as claiming it can't afford giving people health care and education) compared to the potential.

    • youll see it for sure

  • Ion propulsion looks like it is straight out of science fiction. Amazing! So cool to see that it is probably gonna be a big part of the future. Just imagining a large space craft slowly drift with ion thrusters only to then fire up chemical combustion engines in a giant explosion in order to decelerate close to a celestial body has me creaming myself :O

  • I have always dreamed about us setting up a secondary launch point from the moon. Where we use a large portion of fuel to escape the earth. But, then refuel on a base at the moon and go from there with more fuel then we've ever had and the moon has way lesser gravity so it'll make this super effective towards efficiency.

    • ​@sciure sci on the moon there are all the materials needed to make rocket fuel as well as helium 3 which will be useful for fission energy once we get that figured out

    • Yeah that's the artemis plan unfortunately it will take until like 2040

    • If there would be fuel on the moon it would be a great ideea. If not, transfer of fuel in orbit is obviously more efficient. And with nuclear power, it makes more sense to use gases that can be scooped from orbit of a gas giant. A nuclear refuel spacecraft could go into the atmosphere of a gas giant, compress the already freezing dense gases and bring them as liquid to an orbital refinery. Ocean voyage out there, no land if you want to traverse the space in shortest time

    • You might as well launch two ships and refuel the first one with the second's tank. That way you don't have to spend extra fuel to launch from the moon. That is unless you find a fuel source on the moon.

  • Was hoping to see some discussion on Nuclear Explosion Drives, where a small fission reaction explosion is the source of the thrust. Pretty interesting if not exceptionally challenging.

  • Hey Brian, I'm just a rocket engineer telling you that you did a fantastic job on this video. You explained everything perfectly and all of the benefits and drawbacks of each approach. You should be proud of this one!

    • You can’t use air to cool hydrogen to the liquid point. Air would be frozen solid long before hydrogen could be liquified. The only gas that would not be liquid at hydrogen’s melting point would be helium..

    • Stuff like that doesn’t work. Separating water into hydrogen and oxygen is a major chore energetically. Getting water into space is a tough one too.

    • What is the source of energy to split water? Solar won’t work well at any reasonable distance from earth. The energy declines as the inverse square of the distance from the sun. Would need many acres of solar panels to gather enough energy. I don’t think that’s practical. The mass of water carried is the same mass as your proposed propellant but without the mass and required contraptions of the solar panels etc. Why not carry it as propellant in the first case? But this is not practical as the whole thing becomes too heavy. In the case of Spacex rockets their fuel is methane. Hydrogen cannot be substituted for methane in the same engine.

  • Thanks for giving me a rudimentary understanding of this subject without making me feel stupid. I've been alive for the entirety of human space exploration, and wish to be alive for the first humans to Mars. I'm already 62, though, so I guess we'll see how that plays out.

    • Misterrickschannel, I’m a retired Engineer, and 81y. Imagine my problem at living long enough to see this through.

  • Excellent work. Can't imagine how long this took too make.

  • I'm in love with this channel. It's so easy to understand and encourage to learn more Thank you so much

  • Hello, I work for the US government on a rocket engineering program. You did a good job on this video, but we actually already have the technology in use! We created pill shaped vehicles using ion propulsion and perfected them enough to reach speeds over 90,000 Mach! We can even use them here on earth (at much lower speeds in context). Our goal is to get to 500,000 Mach (in space) before completing our task to get images of the Milky Way Galaxy from a "birdseye view".

  • Wonderful as always sir!

    • @Evike95Air G r a v i t y

    • @Dilo Gaming здравей

    • @Фуркан Динчеров привет

    • They can't use cripton in the engine because it could kill super man.

    • There are patents that would change the world for the good but they have been put on the Shelf to save jobs and to create scarcity

  • Hi, I really like your proposals for propulsion. My experience was pwr. I often look back on the simplicity of the designs that made them safe. This is a new generation and I hope you have success... I'm gonna stay here on Terra Firma though.

  • Cool video! Although I feel you might have undersold Nuclear Thermal video a little - I get the point, since it's more about the potentials of NER, but NERVA is quite an early design that very much in the lower end of what can NTRs do (even for solid cores!). Not to mention that I feel like if we were indeed going with a nuclear thermal, it'd likely be an NTER instead of a simple NTR, as that can push the exhaust velocities much further into the 10+km/s range, or even NERVA-like performance using more easily storeable propellants.

    • Timberwind was supposed to be a lot better than the OG NERVA designs. What a shame we never built it.

  • You forgot the third major form of nuclear propulsion in space - nuclear pulse. Would love to see a video on that!

  • Hey Brian, I had always wondered why we didn’t have nuclear propelled rockets as well since I work as a nuclear operator and see the huge benefits of a long lasting fuel for space exploration. But working in the industry for a few years now and seeing how the US designs and operates its reactors, I don’t think this would ever be possible. I’m not going to get a whole lot into it just because what I’ve learned is technically classified, but there’s a lot of good information put out by the department of energy. Especially when it comes to material sciences, studies on brittle fracture and thermal limitations of materials if you’re interested. But the video itself was super informative and really got me thinking. Plus wasn’t boring. You made science look cool!

  • Really great presentation. I keep coming back to watch this one over and over. In the near future, we'll be adding thermonuclear propulsion to the mix. What a great time to be alive.

  • you explain these confusing topics with such simplicity and accuracy. thanks so much great video

  • what if you used the gas going towards the ion thrusters as a coolant? especially if you used a heat pump to superheat the gases, perhaps approaching a plasma state where there is no longer any need to spend energy for ionizing the gas

  • I've seen this episode 1000 times almost literally and I've had the question, in a space to space craft that never lands, why not use all 3 types of engine in one place? Hydrogen isn't hard to store as water for long periods, though it would need place to be stored as hydrogen short term, the nuclear electric engine could also be used to create electricity for electrolysis, the oxygen released from the water can also be used in the space craft for air and perpelent, the water could be used as a coolant for nuclear electric, plus humans consume water. Over top of that, would the slower moving perpelent of nuclear electric not spit out a good base of waste molecules to push the nuclear thermal against making the whole craft faster?

    • I agree with you in that there are ideas that could combine different thrust technologies to make an efficient space craft. Basically, the best space crafts will have very complicated hybrid systems. It's a different future from popular science fiction where there is one magical engine that provides thrust, artificial gravity and shielding all while being the size of a van.

  • These animations seriously keep getting better and better

    • the math used here to demonstrate and describe the ion propulsions, however is getting worse and worse as the video progresses!

    • The graphics are amazing. Bettering the message and information conveyed. Visual learners rejoice!

    • yer, but screw the units, Km [sic] versus km, repeatedly flip. : ((((((

    • Which software are they made in?

    • Move mars closer to earth gets rain

  • Humanity is amazing! Crazy how we can get this kind of education by just ID-tv.

  • If there's one thing I've learnt about modern rocket development is that you really don't know till you try. It would be great if there was more funding for ideas like this

  • very cool. Mars still seems like a bad idea to me compared with mining asteroids (why should we go somewhere we have to fight out of a gravity well to return from)

  • There is a company in India that is developing small reactors using nuclear salts instead of rods. Would that be a process that would work for propulsion to Mars?

  • The only engineering channel on youtube with references.

    • @SpadeX He was responding to some dude who was advertising a Hindu religious scholar

    • #@

    • *Real references*

    • @أمادو .I don’t understand why you are advertising your religion on an engineering video, out of nowhere with no context whatsoever

  • Excess heat from the nuclear reactor could be used to heat the transport vehicle though liquid pipes. Though it would add weight to the vehicle, it should be more effective in dissapating heat from the nuclear reactor.

  • Great video. I've always wanted to put myself on a learning path to better understand these questions, so took you up on the Brilliant offer. :)

  • With the nuclear electric you could also use the heat from the engine to heat the cabins for the people onboard

  • Wonder if magnetic bottles will ever get efficient enough to store ions in bulk for propulsion?

  • Looking at this video now makes me wish I could have seen it when I was doing physics in highschool... just the way the equations relate to the actual real world applications is just so fascinating

    • I agree! If this video had been out when I was in HS, I would've probably pursued a career in science. I've always loved Star Trek, growing up! :)

    • one thing i always said is that they don't teach you useless stuff in school. they just don't often tell you how useful it is.

    • @Golden Age Creation um, what does that mean? some of it is familiar to me but why did you but this comment here?

    • Well if you could not imagine in high school that the equations are a language to describe the real world. Physics is not your thing.

    • All make believe Larry.

  • I wonder if you could use supercapacitors alongside a ion engine to make a ionic afterburner of a sort. If it's possible it might open up the possibly of being able to use small burn windows with I-engines.

  • In light of recent developments nuclear propulsion might become a viable option for escaping earth’s atmosphere… Depending on what Mr. Putler intends to do next, a few more nukes might not be such a big issue!

  • For a nuclear thermal engine, could electrical energy be extracted from the system to power electrolysis, generating hydrogen and oxygen? Something like that, even using a second reactor to power the electrolysis, would allow you to store the hydrogen longer. Even some other form of storage could work.

    • problem being oxygen is relatively heavy and you're going to have a large excess mass of oxygen if you store hydrogen in water. the real breakthrough would be if you could make metallic hydrogen, which would be stored as a solid and solve all the problems with storage.

    • Yes. You need radiators to manage the waste heat, so have a temperature gradiant between the hot engine housing and cold radiators, which can he exploited to generate energy by various means. Or you can divert reaction mass from downstream of the engine and use it to power a gas turbine. However, reactor design constraints and issues with the very binary operation profule of an Nuclear Thermal mean it might be preferable to simply have a smaller heat pipe reactor or the like that runs in a steady state to make power. Or just use an Orion engine. It's way faster.

  • Does anyone know if there is any time estimations for when this method will be viable?

  • I feel silly for not knowing ion thrusters are real. That blue glow is so eerie, but so beautiful

    • @Basesixty they might be weak, but if you compound the velocity (since there isn't any wind in space), you'll reach speeds near lightspeed in decades, as long as the integrity of the ship is intact

    • i thought the only existed in ksp

    • I thought they only existed in Stellaris lol

    • It's like something from a sci-fi film

    • that is the blue glow of xenon,my friend.

  • Graphene membranes can prevent hydrogen atoms from passing through. This makes the indefinite storage of hydrogen possible for use in a nuclear thermal engine.

  • Couldn't it be a combination of the 2? Chemical reaction for lift off and landing, but electric for everything else?

  • Yes ion engines could well be our way to Mars. Using a nuclear reaction would be the most efficient way to make power. The reactor and all it`s componants can be separate from the craft that stupid humans will strap themselves into. A mission to mars right now would be an effort of futility. Why do we not go to the moon anymore? It would be a good staging area for future space missions.

  • There is an excellent hard science fiction book called “Saturn Run” by John Sanford and Ctein. It has the two nuclear drive options you have here racing to Saturn in about 2068.

  • So weird to hear Gary’s name. His family lived in our neighborhood when I was much younger. I was close to the same age as his oldest child. We knew he was involved with “space”....but it was years later before I understood the true impact of his accomplishments. He was an incredible pioneer.

    • Gary Flandro, a good friend and a highly respected colleague.

    • @moh that's fair. But it's always nice to know his names still being mentioned. I guess he wouldn't know about real engineering, so it probably wouldn't mean much to him.

    • @Kenna Rajora why would he care that his name was mentioned in a ID-tv video, no offense to Real Engineering; the guy is like a rockstar in the space business.

    • If anything, I’d be offering as much TP as he requires.

  • Gas-based nuclear thermal engines can have significantly higher specific impulse. Particularly open-loop cycles.

  • Does everyone have this gut feeling of going to the far reaches of space to explore. All the mysteries of space intrigue me so much.

  • I was on an airline flight in the 70s and an engineering student showed me that the senior class project was a magnetically contained Uranium fission reactor with gaseous Hydrogen flowing past it to absorb thr radiant heat. I don't know what casing would survive the neutron flux; maybe Niobium. Also the Nerva engine can triple its heat transfer by pulsing pressure in the boiling, pressurized Hydrogen. Published in Analog around 1970.

  • Hi, Is there any way we can enhance a chemical combustion engine using an ion thruster in conjugation? The high temp exhausts will be ionized and accelerated using ion propulsion.

  • can't an ion thruster use electric fields to redirect its ion flow in a reverse tube that comes out at 180 degrees to slow down gradually?

  • of course, the simple cycle Nuclear Thermal engine (reactor coolant/working fluid = exhaust) creates radioactive exhaust. Which might be problematic, eh? Most studies I have seen suggest the required weight of shielding and a heat-exchanger to let the reactor fluid (radioactive) be separate from the exhaust negate most of the benefits of reactor as compared to chemical fuels. Nuclear Ion can be built to not spray decaying isotopes out the exhaust, so that is a point in their favour.

  • What if we just send the payload (food, oxygen) first to specific places along the way to Mars.

  • Would a hybrid engine work, where you use incomplete combustion to generate high mass heavily charged particles (instead of pure ions, e.g. carbon-monoxide) which then can be accelerated by an ion drive/rail gun type system to generate thrust (could even thrown in an after burner step to complete the combustion if it helped...)?

  • Fantastic content, love the humanist optimistic approach, being positive about our species. Too easy to find negative regressive attitudes from those declaring they're doing the opposite.

  • I remember hearing of VASIMR (a type of ion engine) with a game-changing mission profile: a 42-day trip to Mars, 6 weeks on the surface, and 6 weeks return to Earth. The entire mission can be completed with both Earth and Mars on the same side of the sun. If nuclear can achieve this 6-week trip time, it becomes feasible the same way. VASIMR hasn't proved out, so we may need the nuclear engine to pull off the mission.

    • @Alex Zimmermann VASIMR does “work” but it still has some issues in the way preventing it from reaching its originally envisioned potential. Right now they’re not really all that practically different from ion thrust-wise (thrust is much more but not so much that it’d make a big difference) and efficiency is quite a bit less.

    • @James Olson The ambition was to do do away with the NTR and use only a VASIMR as propulsion for everything but you'll never get the same thrust-to-mass-ratio with a nuclear electric VASIMR system.

    • @Alex Zimmermann Thanks, I also figured we'll need a fission reactor. Next would be what size, the power plant would not only have to supply the engines, a significant draw of electricity would go to the magnetic shield. The reactor would have to be launched as a separate module due to its weight, so our mars-bound ships would have to be assembled in orbit.

    • VASIMR works, we just need an energy source. That would be a fission electric generator with today's tech.

  • Im interested in the price differences of each method because its always so hard for nasa to get adequate funding. especially since krypton and xenon are very rare and therefore very expensive. i think over 400 times the price of hydrogen. still fantastic video!!!

  • The coolest idea is covered by Scott Manley in a video: the nuclear water rocket. A solution of uranium and water is kept sub critical in tanks until it enters the combustion chamber where it would become supercritical and flash to superheated steam with immense power.

  • Nicely explained, thanks ❤️

  • I really wish I could’ve taken Nuclear Propulsion at my school, but the professor retired the year before I could take it.

    • oof

    • you could try to go in the more conventual energy (production) classes and use that as a stepping stone.

  • question: isn't it super cold in space? at what temperature does hydrogen have to be stored?

  • I wonder if a helium chamber surrouding the hydrogen would work so hydrogen couldnt escape. That would seem the lightest way to store the hydrogen.

  • I love it when your videos are just pure science and not the pet theories of someone - great job!

    • If you love them, surely you want more science-channel, yeah?

  • For a manned mission to Mars, use ion engines for the initial thrust, then use conventional chemical rocket engines to quickly slow down for Mars orbital insertion. Makes sense. No need for finicky hydrogen fueled nuclear engines.

  • Surprised you didn’t talk about it here, but if you throw out the assumption that your nuclear core has to stay in the solid form, you can get specific impulses of up to 7000s with thrust to weight ratios of 1-5. Recently did a presentation on this at an AIAA conference for anyone who’s interested:

    • I feel it’s not a waste of resources per say but at our current technological level it is highly inefficient but if we do it more it’s inevitable it’ll get more efficient or atleast I can hope lol I mean worse case scenario we’re stuck on a firing earth and just have to die

    • @The Infidel oh yeah it’s absolutely stupid and insane but in theory it would be an extremely harmful and inefficient form of space travel

    • @Atomicskull nuclear submarines would be considered an instance of nuclear electric propulsion (using nuclear fission to generate electricity to generate thrust) as opposed to nuclear thermal (using heat transfer). Above video describes the pros and cons.

  • Also great for space since it can carry hundreds to thousands tons of resources back to earth to be processed or in space even on the moon

  • Fun fact: in the Martian, an Ion Propulsion System is used to reach Mars!

  • He's a real good guy. It's refreshing to see somebody with money and power using it to benefit others. There should be more people like this in the world. Thank you Mr Musk

  • Great video! What about a nuclear salt water rocket?

  • Any problem in the world: exists Nuclear Energy: Sounds like a job for me.

    • @Mark Langridge it's 2022 rn, where general fusion?

    • @can can it isn't even feasible in this application. The radiators would be larger and heavier than the solar panels needed to make the same power. Just go plug some numbers into a black body radiation calculator and you'll see I'm right.

    • @5000mahmud From the very beginning it was a proposed program that never actually got anywhere and that proposal included a LOT of different potential variants of the concept which R&D would have had to figure out which specifics were best had it gone farther. H-bombs (ie *fusion*) were one of the options mentioned from the beginning, because they existed at the time and would provide more thrust if it turned out the vehicle needed more "oomph". The two most commonly seen versions of the concept are the Navy's iteration of the concept as a potential future US military venture, which would likely have used specialized A-bombs designed from the ground up to be a pulsed nuclear propellant and a bare-bones, no-nonsense variant of the concept that could be built in a short timeframe under poor conditions through sheer overengineering and spite as a "in case we need to get off world TODAY"--that concept would've used retrofits from the US or its allies' existing nuclear arsenals, primarily H-bombs. Both were part of the Orion proposal for pulsed nuclear propulsion spacecraft, though: using fusion is not just something that appeared without precedent in more recent iterations of the concept (though as small "mini-mag" charges instead of full bomb-scale ones are new).

    • @IONATVS The original Orion used fission, the modern mini mag variant uses fusion but is much weaker in terms of thrust.

    • Stupid science Science doesn't know Jupiter growing up to create the Sun. The Earth is about to have two Suns. The Earth is constantly expanding, the proof is that Hawaii volcanic lava is constantly spewing out

  • They should build multiple stages of ion acceleration, that would bring down fuel consumption by a massive amount

  • bahsettiğin fikirler şuanki seviyemizden ileri olabilir. ancak yıldızlararası seyahat için yetersizdir. umarım yakın bir zamanda yıldız gemisi atılgan düzeyinde bir gemi yapacak bir dahi dünyada doğabilir. bekliyoruz..

  • I have some general impression that exploring space evolves into exploring cool presentations of possible future missions.

  • the payload issue can be overcome just by fueling up and building in low earth orbit then taking off on the trip too mars.

  • What if you use ion propulsion to accelerate the exhaust gasses from an 'ionized' combustion engine?

  • I'm not a rocket scientist but this channel sure does make me feel smarter lol

  • Thanks for the video! The Flandro dude started the most effective space exploration program in human history. Thanks!!!!

  • I wonder if it's possible to make a liquid uranium solution and store it stable-y in a tank and then pump it into a neutron chamber for propulsion

  • How do you put out so high quality content in just 2 weeks!? I love these videos, they are so informative but still interesting. Keep up the great work!

    • @Real Engineering I read this with your voice in my mind.

    • Many of the more educational oriented channels have insane video output, kinda making me jealous about their work ethics ^^

    • It’s more like a month. While the video is in production I’m writing the next one.

  • Just waiting on space weapon treaty changes to unveil tech like the NTTR for launch systems. Huge payload mass fraction on these vehicles, can't wait Edit: Bucknell's nuclear thermal turbo rocket

  • Alright - my question is related to the high deceleration: If you flip the ship around and begin thrusting the opposite direction at 50% of the way there, wouldn't you effectively slow yourself down for insertion to a point where you could use chemical boosters or maneuvering thrusters to correct your angle of approach and drop into orbit? Just seems like if you could achieve it this way you wouldn't need to do a rapid deceleration all at the end.

  • I just wanted to let you know that your videos pulled me out of a dark place of looming midlife crisis in my early 40's. I've started using Brilliant so I can be better at Maths and use it in my current CS degree with Machine Learning and AI. Thanks a lot! Greetings from Dublin!

    • @Nicanor Benitez If you are struggling to understand books or lectures, Brilliant is good to make you understand things on a more intuitive and practical layer. However, I don't use any of them in isolation. I use both Brilliant and formal lectures/books.

    • how is that going? I've considered using Brilliant as well; any comments?

    • Chin up Sublick.!! 👌💯👌😜

    • Awesome man!

  • Nuclear energy is always the answer and absolutely the future.. if it is fusion or fission it’s both amazing

  • The 3D models for the Mars spaceship look gorgeous

    • @GBA811 I thought the same.

    • If you look closely many of the parts (including the exact gravity ring design) looks exactly like the models Nertea (a kerbal space program modder) made for his kerbal space program mods.

    • @GBA811 the hermes is just beautiful and cool

    • I believe is based in the Hermes spacecraft from The Martian.

    • @Joaquin Villanueva oh noes they stealin iss😥

  • Wonder how fast a tr3b can make it to Mars in? Under a day?? Would be cool to see that tech being used for good instead of this.

  • nuclear technology in general is so tragically underappreciated because of people's mostly irrational fear of it. From nuclear power to nuclear propulsion, nuclear tech is consistently a superlative option that regularly gets passed up and it's such a shame.

  • if you combine aerobraking for capture with entry, decent, and landing, at mars, then you can bleed off the ~ 7 km/s without nuclear propulsion.

  • This is a great channel where I feel smarter after I watch an episode.

  • These guys do a great job. The way they explain and give references make their videos so complete. People like me need this channel. 🚀🚀🚀

  • For hydrogen, why not just ionize it and then store the hydrogen ions in a positively charged tank and electrons in a negatively charged tank?

  • aren't there some honeycomb materials that store hydrogen in solid form, and release it when heated? in space heat management is usually a problem, if you could use that heat to release the hydrogen from its storage, you could kill 2 birds with 1 stone.

  • We should worry about the problems on Earth first, then when we need(want) a cool space base, we start with a moon base which would be a much easier, cheaper, and sensible idea with FAR more benefits compared to a Mars base.

  • Real Engineering, it would help you would use subtitles when giving us metric measurements. I would most likely watch more of your videos.

  • These missions captured my imagination as a kid. Now I have 7 interplanetary mission under the belt. You just gotta go for it.

    • @Evike95Air We can no longer argue with you. Only the future will tell the truth.

    • @Evike95Air Why don't you just go to Antarctica and find out what's on the other side? If you look at the SRTM radar image of the surface of the is in fact the ONLY image of the entire globe in a single coordinate system, moreover it used interferometric radar (like a hologram). It's a 3D image, and guess what? It's round. The data are beyond the simulation level of any computer, it was written to tapes that filled the shuttle cargo bay. We took those tapes straight to analysis, and the earth was round. It simply could not have been faked by anyone or any government. Moreover, me and my homie place targets around Earth at locations known only to use, with a precision of around 1 inch, and guess what? They were in the would be impossible to fake that in a simulation. Search online, I think the data are free. You could also use a GPS, travel in a large triangle. You will find the angles don't add to 180 degrees. If you understand geometry: that cannot be faked on a flat's is mathematically impossible to do it for an arbitrary triangle.

  • couldn't you store the Hydrogen as water and use a separate power source to extract the hydrogen through electrolysis? Maybe you could even inject the oxygen back into the hydrogen at the end of the engine as a sort of afterburner.

  • I wonder if we could ever get a video on the possibility of Fusion power for interplanetary travel

  • It takes a lot of energy to ionize the xenon. Maybe a key to improve the ion thrusters is increasing the exhaust speed by accelerating the ions for longer.

  • For the “cryogenic storage” requirement, why is that a problem in space where it is extremely cold?

    • It isn't cold in space. It doesn't have a temperature, it's vacuum. On Earth one of the main ways for heat to propagate is convection i.e. through the air. So, in space, things exposed to the Sun can heat up to pretty high temperatures. And things that are in shadow will slowly lose heat via black body radiation. That's why during the Apollo missions the spacecraft would slowly spin as to not let one side of it get too hot and the other one to get too cold.

  • It is hard for me to comprehend how brilliant these people are!

    • @BlackholeTtson452 It would be possible, if such a project was funded. I doubt it will be, though.

    • Yeah lightning Me too.

    • @Cyberspine do you really think 10-20 years from now we could have the technology like this as shown in the video?

    • I used to feel the same way before I went to university to get an engineering degree. I'm still no rocket scientist, but I can fathom how people are able to develop these technologies. Much is often said about the uselessness of a college degree, but I believe they are still very valuable.

  • Now I finally have a vague idea of how my Ion engine KSP craft is actually flying just using electricity

  • So much of this goes over my head but damn is it fascinating!

  • I love aerospace and your channel, but imho interplanetary travel is like fusion power: we’re almost always there, but nothing has really changed since the beginning (except the cgi is slicker and rockets shinier). Consider: 1. We can still only barely get into LEO (payload/total mass) and even that is difficult. 2. The vastness of space is unimaginable - even to the near objects. It took Voyager 40 years to exit the inner solar system. Let that sink in for a bit - 40 years. 3. Space is hostile to human life, lethal is probably a better word. Forget the extreme temperatures, total vacuum or that it takes about two football fields of land to feed 1 person/yr. The radiation will kill you in short order and at the velocities required, a snowball has enough kinetic energy to rip any tin can we can launch into shreds. ISS astronauts are time-limited due to radiation exposure and the ISS has been struck several times by objects the size of a grain of sand that caused damage - and they’re still in the protective envelope of the Earth’s magnetic & gravitational fields and a bit of atmosphere. The only solution to either of these problems is more mass. Now revisit #1, do some delta-v calculations and you’ll soon find yourself in the red. Gravity is a bitch! I encourage all and more aerospace research because it often results in useful stuff like Velcro or the longer-lasting lightbulb and cuz it’s way cool. And, hey slicker cgi ain’t necessarily a bad thing.

  • Although I'm not educated well enough to watch this stuff, it is fascinating and very entertaining.

  • 2:25 Gravity assists are fine, but they need planets. Ion propulsion, or rather mass accelerator propulsion is better, and I mean fractional lightspeed emission. Simply put multi stream cyclotron with linear accelerator last stage, using large molecules.

  • When I hear an Irish narrator with regard to space travel,I think of my favorite joke.The Irish wanted to send a manned mission to the Sun.They were asked why as they would be burned to death.The reply was "We are going at night".