"Take my love, take my land, take me where I cannot stand. I don't care, I'm still free. You can't take the sky from me."
I got inspired by the themesong from Firefly (pretty much the greatest TV show in the history of TV, for those who don't know).
the background image of Earth is obviously not mine. But I'm fairly sure it's in the public domain, since it's from NASA.
The ship takes design elements from the NERVA rocket system that was investigated by NASA and the Atomic Energy Commission in 1952. NERVA (Nuclear Engine for Rocket Vehicle Application) is a Nuclear Thermal Rocket. It uses a nuclear reactor to heat liquid Hydrogen, causing it to expand and be forced out of the rocket nozzle, providing thrust. This particular assembly would be used to ferry cargo from Earth Orbit to the Moon, but other configurations could be used for missions to Mars. Unfortunately, NERVA was scrapped in 1972. In its (and other spacecraft's) place, after the close of Apollo, we got the Space Shuttles. Nothing against the Shuttles, but had we built a few of these, we might have already had a few Lunar and Martian bases by now. :/