Russia hopes to send humans to Mars and beyond using a nuclear powered rocketship. Plans could be done as soon as 2012, with another nine years before the ship is actually ready for flight. By having a nuclear reactor power the electric rocket engine, the rocket would be twice as fuel efficient as conventional rockets. Since NASA is planning to retire its space shuttles next year, the Russian space program will take on the role of space exploration and will be looked upon to move astronauts to and from the International Space Station.


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