Congress should order nuclear option

As NASA launches the first Space Launch System (SLS) mission, the United States fails to invest in critical space propulsion technology required to send astronauts to Mars.

To enable human missions to Mars in the twenty-first century, the United States must develop space nuclear propulsion technologies. 

 Congress should direct NASA and the Department of Energy to form a new National Space Nuclear Propulsion Laboratory in collaboration with a University Affiliated Research Center.

It is naive and against national interests for the U.S. to rely on expensive, outdated, slow, single-use chemically propelled rockets like SLS to transport astronauts to Mars. Instead

 America must aggressively invest in developing space nuclear propulsion systems.

Nuclear technology, including nuclear electric propulsion (or “NEP”) and nuclear thermal propulsion (or “NTP”)

will be a space travel game-changer with profound implications for deep space mission speed, agility and capability.

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