NTRS - NASA Technical Reports Server
the engineering of a nuclear thermal landing and ascent vehicle utilizing indigenous martian propellantA design study of a novel space transportation concept called NIMF (Nuclear rocket using Indigenous Martian Fuel) is reported. In this concept, Martian CO2 gas, which constitutes 95 percent of the atmosphere, is liquified by simple compression to about 100 psi and remains stable without refrigeration. When heated and exhausted out of a rocket nozzle, a specific impulse of about 264 s can be achieved, sufficient for flights from the surface to highly energetic orbits or from one point on the surface to any other point. The propellant acquisition system can travel with the vehicle, allowing it to refuel itself each time it lands. The concept offers unequalled potential to achieve planetwide mobility, allowing complete global access for the exploration of Mars. By eliminating the necessity of transporting ascent propellant to Mars, the NIMF can also significantly reduce the initial mass in LEO and of a manned Mars mission.
Zubrin, Robert M. (Martin Marietta Corp. Astronautics Group, Denver, CO, United States)
August 14, 2013
July 1, 1990
SPACECRAFT PROPULSION AND POWER