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February 27, 2010

Around the inner solar system in 80 days

Franklin Chang-Diaz claims his Variable Specific Impulse Magnetoplasma Rocket (VASIMR) can dramatically shorten journey times to Mars.

Fortunately, I am certain the Chinese or the Indians will take him up on the idea.

His rocket would use electricity to transform a fuel - most likely hydrogen, helium or deuterium - into plasma gas heated to 11 million degrees, which was then channelled into tailpipes by magnetic fields to propel the spacecraft.

It would send a shuttle hurtling towards the moon or Mars at ever-faster speeds up to an estimated

55 kilometres a second until the engines were reversed.

Dr Chang-Diaz, a veteran of seven shuttle missions, said the rapid acceleration could allow for trips of just 39 days instead of the anticipated round-trip voyage to Mars of three years, including a forced stay of 18 months.

Posted by Ghost of a flea at February 27, 2010 07:27 AM

Comments

If you haven't done so, check out:

http://www.projectrho.com/rocket/index.html

I can never remember where I get these links, I might have got it from a post here. In any event, if you are inclined towards science fiction, this website will absorb two days of your time.

I personally like the Nuclear Salt Water Rocket. The heavens could be ours!

Posted by: Gareth [TypeKey Profile Page] at February 27, 2010 09:36 PM