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NASA Chooses Lockheed Martin To Build Nuclear Mars Rocket

The spacecraft will use a reactor from BWX Technologies to travel to the red planet.



nasa chooses lockheed martin to build nuclear mars rocket
Lockheed Martin

NASA and DARPA have chosen Lockheed Martin to build a spacecraft featuring a nuclear rocket engine. The project is known as the Demonstration Rocket for Agile Cislunar Operations (DRACO), and should be ready for trials by 2027, in the hope that it will eventually be used for missions to Mars.

The rocket will use Nuclear thermal propulsion (NTP), which has several advantages over conventional chemical-powered engines. Nuclear power is up to five times more efficient than rocket fuel, which means that future spacecraft will be able to travel significantly further with a larger payload.

“These more powerful and efficient nuclear thermal propulsion systems can provide faster transit times between destinations,” explained Kirk Shireman, VP of Lunar Exploration Campaigns for Lockheed Martin. “Reducing transit time is vital for human missions to Mars to limit a crew’s exposure to radiation”.

lockheed martin mars rocket

The NTP system will use a nuclear reactor to rapidly heat hydrogen propellant to very high temperatures. The gas is then funneled through the engine’s nozzle, creating thrust. “This nuclear thermal propulsion system is designed to be extremely safe and reliable, using High Assay Low Enriched Uranium (HALEU) fuel to rapidly heat a super-cold gas,” explained reactor developers BWX Technologies. “As the gas is heated, it expands quickly and creates thrust to move the spacecraft more efficiently than typical chemical combustion engines”.

Also Read: Take A Balloon Journey To Space, Complete With Fine Dining!

To help alleviate concerns about radioactive leaks, NASA and DARPA will use a conventional rocket to take the new spacecraft out of Earth’s orbit before powering up the reactor after the ship has reached a safe distance.


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Adobe Teases New AI Editing Tools And Updates In Premiere Pro

The video editing app will be enhanced with a generative extend tool, text-to-video, improved timeline waveforms, and more.



adobe teases new ai editing tools and updates in premiere pro

After launching the generative AI model Firefly last year, Adobe is now showcasing how the technology will be used in upcoming versions of the editing app Premiere Pro. In an early sneak peek, the company demonstrated several new features, including Object Addition and Removal, Generative Extend, and Text to Video.

The first new feature, Generative Extend, targets a common video editing problem by using AI to “Seamlessly add frames to make clips longer, so it’s easier to perfectly time edits and add smooth transitions”.

Meanwhile, Premiere Pro’s Object Addition & Removal tool will leverage Firefly’s generative AI to “Simply select and track objects, then replace them. Remove unwanted items, change an actor’s wardrobe or quickly add set dressings such as a painting or photorealistic flowers on a desk,” Adobe states.

Adobe also showcased another new feature that can automatically generate new film clips using a text prompt. To use the content creation tool, editors can “Simply type text into a prompt or upload reference images. These clips can be used to ideate and create storyboards, or to create B-roll for augmenting live action footage,” Adobe explained. The company seems to be commercializing this particular feature extremely quickly, considering generative AI video only appeared a few months ago.

Also Read: UGREEN Unveils Nexode RG 65W Charger For Middle East

The new additions to Premiere Pro will be added later this year, but Adobe is also introducing smaller improvements to the editing app in May. The changes include interactive fade handles to enable easier transitions, an Essential Sound badge that uses AI to “automatically tag audio clips as dialogue, music, sound effects or ambience, and add a new icon so editors get one-click, instant access to the right controls for the job”, along with effect badges and a new look for waveforms in the timeline.

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