Thanks to Lion for sharing a link to an interview with Dennis Bushnell, Chief Scientist at the NASA Langley Research Center, who is discussing the challenges involved with human exploration of Mars.
The article is titled “NASA LRC Chief Scientist on AI, Mars Colonization & Spaceflight”, the interviewer is Tim Ventura and is published on Medium.com here:
He discusses issues of health and safety and the costs that would be involved putting people on the red planet, and in connection with the energy sources required he brings up LENR.
Additionally, there’s also low-energy nuclear reactions (LENR), which we’re working on here. We’ve got 22 years and hundreds of experiments now on low-energy nuclear reactions which indicate that this is real.
Plus, we now have a theory that indicates that it’s condensed-matter nuclear physics.
So LENR appears to be collective effects, not particle physics. It seems that you can get around Coloumb barrier by forming ultra weak neutrons using heavy electrons. This not only enables you to form the neutrons, but also convert the gamma radiation from beta-decay into thermal energy so that you don’t need as much radiation protection. LENR is expected to be anywhere from 20,000 to 3 million times chemical efficiency, and if we can get that in place it will truly revolutionize space.
When asked how heavily NASA is invested in LENR, he replies:
Well, it’s not heavily, I mean we have a $200,000 to $300,000 a year effort. We’re also cooperating with people on this, but I can’t divulge details under cooperative agreements.
Dennis Bushnell has been interested in LENR for quite a long time and apparently still sees it as being a possible contributor to advanced space travel.