This month, as part of our special on the future of education, PopSci_ presents 10 labs where students do serious research (and career training) by blowing stuff up._

Lab: Propulsion Research Center at the University of Alabama at Huntsville
Career: Rocket scientist, aircraft designer, missile systems engineer

Strategically located a few miles from NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center, the Propulsion Research Center has been a proving ground for some of the world’s top rocket scientists since its inception in 1991.

In addition to making rockets that launch payloads into orbit, says interim director Robert Frederick, students will soon begin work on new nuclear propulsion systems that could reach Mars in weeks instead of months.