BEACON TRANSCRIPT – Are you tired of being called out a landlubber? Then here’s a chance to earn your reputation among the stars. Ever dream about drifting in space or walk on the surface of Mars? It takes a while to get there, of course, but NASA’s got a plan to shorten the trip. According to the space agency, the new engine design could take astronauts to Mars in 3 days.
It’s no big news that NASA’s planning a trip to the Red Planet. But before we can even think about embarking on probably the most awing adventure in the history of mankind, we should probably pause for a brief moment to gather our stuff.
According to the NASA, or the big chief when it comes to space travel, given the technical advances made in the last decades, the length of a trip to the Red Planet has been reduced from a few years to a couple of months. Still, with all the gizmos we have right now, a trip to Mars will take about 6 to 12 months. And that’s not even the beginning.
Apart from the length of the journey, we should also take into account what we need in order to reach the planet safe and sound. A stout spacecraft is the first item on the list, followed by lots of fuel and oxygen. Moreover, we should also be concern about what we eat on the way to Mars.
All of these necessities add extra weight to the spacecraft, and you don’t have to be a rocket scientist to figure out that extra weight means less speed. Presently, NASA’s working on improving the existing propulsion system, most of them working on chemical fuels.
But, you don’t get to be number one in a profession if you don’t know how to stay ahead of the competition. Naturally, NASA’s got a backup plan, but whether this plan will work or not, remains to be seen.
The space agency announced that, theoretically, the new engine design could take astronauts to Mars in 3 days. How is this possible you ask? With high-power lasers. Currently, NASA’s working on a plan to construct a functional laser propulsion engine. According to their plan, such a propulsion system could reduce the time it takes the shuttle to reach Mars from a year to 3 days.
How does it work? The spacecraft will use electromagnetic acceleration instead of chemical acceleration. This means that the craft will be outfitted with the intense light source system, which will slingshot the craft into interstellar space.
Trouble is that the technology is currently under research and the costs associated with such an endeavor are too great. Another limitation of this project is the spacecraft’s design. Even if NASA came up with the blueprints for such an Asimovian propulsion system, the spacecraft will have to be redesigned from scratch.
And based on the technology’s potential, the laser propulsion system will only be able to launch very light shuttles into space. NASA estimates that the system could theoretically send a 100-kilo shuttle to Mars in three days.
Unfortunately, given our know-how, the propulsion system in very tricky to build and it requires a heap load of money. Whether or not NASA will stick to the traditional chemical acceleration, remains to be seen.