Starship, The Moon & Mars?

Mar 17, 2020
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I am just reaching out to the community on these related questions: If it might take a Starship lander to reach the moon after 10 refuelings, how is a similar Starship going to make it to Mars? Shouldn't SpaceX try to develop a nuclear engine that would solve not only the refueling problem, but maybe the timeline from e.g. 6 months to 6 weeks or less for the journey?
Now if SpaceX does develop a nuclear rocket, will NASA enforce some regulations on procuring nuclear fuel? I wouldn't be surprised if they are quietly going that route right now.


Nov 8, 2023
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It's not actually a secret that nuclear propulsion is being considered for Mars missions. Having said that that is mostly because of the big payloads needed for Mars. For a given mass the fuel to get to Mars isn't that much more than to land on the Moon, it just takes a lot longer.
That would probably require too much of SpaceX's workforce. Starship is their top priority because if they can be the only fully-reusable launch vehicle then they'll basically own the market. So they want to release before the competition.

Starship isn't even operational and people say "Just wait for Starship, and then use that." about everything. Even if it's not reusable, it'll probably be a relatively cheap super heavy-lift launch vehicle because of all the practice they have making them. Which they'll probably use for Starlink. Not to mention their involvement with Artemis.

For your 2nd question: I don't think NASA would be the one to place or enforce regulations on nuclear material, and nuclear material is probably already regulated.