Russia wants to travel to Jupiter by 2030 with a nuclear spacecraft

Russia is building a nuclear-powered spacecraft that can send heavy cargo deep into space. The spacecraft is scheduled to have a mission to Jupiter in 2030. Russia hopes to eventually use the same technology to power its space station.

The Russian space agency Roscosmos announced in a news release that their long-range spacecraft is scheduled for an interplanetary mission in 2030. The spacecraft's energy module, called Zeus, is designed to generate enough power to send heavy cargo deep into space. This module will actually be a portable nuclear power plant.

Current spacecraft currently use solar or gravitational energy. So it will probably take about three years for the astronauts to go to Mars and return to Earth from there. NASA predicts that this time will be shortened by at least a year if nuclear spacecraft are produced.

Concept image of NASA spacecraft with nuclear reactor

Many countries are currently looking to produce these spacecraft. The United States hopes to send its first nuclear power plant to the moon by 2027. But NASA has only launched one nuclear reactor into space in 1965. Of course, the "Curiosity" and "Endurance" probes also use nuclear energy, but they do not have a reactor.

Russia has sent more than 30 reactors into space so far. Zeus will be a 500-kilowatt nuclear reactor to move from one planet to the next. In this mission, Russia first goes to the moon, then moves to Venus to travel to its destination, Jupiter, with the help of the planet's gravity. The whole mission will take about 50 months.

Roscosmos engineers have been developing the Zeus module since 2010. The prototype of this module was prepared in 2018 and now this technology is to be used in the construction of the Russian space station .


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