Reports in Chinese media in recent weeks, which were later deleted, revealed that the “mini nuclear reactor” they were working on is now ready. In short, the engine for travel to Mars and Neptune could now be operational.
In recent days, various media have reported that the reactor has successfully passed a major performance evaluation. This test was organized by the Ministry of Science and Technology of the Asian country.
Curiously, the news has been suppressed, but theorists claim that it is proof that the engine allowing space travel in record time is ready.
China’s ‘super’ engine for space travel is ready
The news did not specify exactly what use China intends to make of the reactor. However, these nuclear propulsion systems are the same ones that other countries have studied to circumvent the limitations of solar panels and chemical fuels in space travel. Especially for traveling to other planets.
By the end of the year, the Chinese government had already mentioned this reactor and claimed that the prototype phase had already been completed. He also claimed that engineers had already built some of the essential parts.
According to the South China Morning Post , the mini-reactor project started in 2019 with government funding.
As the Hong Kong newspaper reported at the time, now corroborated by Chinese media, the reactor can reach a power of one megawatt. This figure is much higher than that of similar projects.
This is where theorists and China’s alleged plan to explore Neptune, Triton, its largest moon, and the other satellites and rings come in. This with a 10 kilowatt nuclear-powered spacecraft.
Ion thrusters are very efficient and require very little fuel.
The system uses a magnetic field that constrains the movement of an element’s electrons and ionizes them to accelerate them and produce a force that propels the aircraft.
Reach other planets
To achieve the speed needed to reach Mars in just over a month, Chinese engineers wanted to build a 200 megawatt thruster. This is quite an ambitious goal, especially considering that the normal power of these motors is between 1 and 7 kilowatts.
The United States is also working on new nuclear-powered spacecraft. And DARPA, as well as NASA and the Department of Defense, are developing different concepts.
However, if it is true that China has already developed its mini nuclear reactor, it would be ahead of the powers in the new space race.
One of the most important goals, considering that last year a researcher from the Chinese Academy of Sciences anonymously said the following:
“Nuclear energy is the most promising solution. Other nations have launched ambitious projects, but China cannot afford to lose the race. »
Everything suggests that China is in the lead and could be the first nation to reach another planet. What would that mean for the Earth?