30-Day Trip To Mars?

In his 1961 novel Stranger in a Strange Land, Robert Heinlein is clear about the real-world limitations of space travel to Mars with minimum energy paths:

At that time, only eight Terran years after the founding of the first human colony on Luna, any interplanetary trip made by humans necessarily had to be made in weary free-fail orbits, doubly tangent semi-ellipses--from Terra to Mars, two hundred fifty-eight days, the same for the return journey, plus four hundred fifty-five days waiting at Mars while the two planets crawled slowly back into relative positions which would permit shaping the doubly-tangent orbit-a total of almost three Earth years.

After making the trip the old fashioned way, a new technology becomes available:

The Federation Ship Champion, manned by an all-male crew of eighteen experienced spacemen and carrying more than that number of male pioneers, made the crossing under Lyle Drive in only nineteen days. The Champion landed just south of Lacus Soli, as Captain van Tromp intended to search for the Envoy.

This week, University of Washington researchers and scientists announced their progress in building components of a fusion-powered rocket that could drop the long months required for such a trip to mere weeks.


(A concept image of a spacecraft powered by a fusion-driven rocket)

"Using existing rocket fuels, it's nearly impossible for humans to explore much beyond Earth," said lead researcher John Slough, a UW research associate professor of aeronautics and astronautics. "We are hoping to give us a much more powerful source of energy in space that could eventually lead to making interplanetary travel commonplace."

Slough and his team have published papers calculating the potential for 30- and 90-day expeditions to Mars using a rocket powered by fusion, which would make the trip more practical and less costly.

Slough and his colleagues at MSNW think so. They have demonstrated successful lab tests of all portions of the process. Now, the key will be combining each isolated test into a final experiment that produces fusion using this technology, Slough said.


(The Fusion Driven Rocket: Animation)
The Fusion Driven Rocket
Thin hoops of metal are driven at the proper angle and speed for convergence onto target plasmoid at thruster throat. A target Deuterium FRC plasmoid is created and injected into thruster chamber.
Target FRC is confined by axial magnetic field from shell driver coils as it translates through chamber eventually stagnating at the thruster throat.
Converging shell segments form fusion blanket compressing target FRC plasmoid to fusion conditions. The shell absorbs neutrons emitted during fusion.
Vaporized and ionized by fusion neutrons and alphas, the plasma blanket expands against the divergent magnetic field resulting directed flow of the metal plasma out of the magnetic nozzle.

Via Physorg.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 4/7/2013)

Follow this kind of news @Technovelgy.

| Email | RSS | Blog It | Stumble | del.icio.us | Digg | Reddit |

Would you like to contribute a story tip? It's easy:
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add it here.

Comment/Join discussion ( 0 )

Related News Stories - (" Space Tech ")

Self-Healing Materials For Spacecraft
'It even had an inter-skin layer of gum that sealed the punctures...'- Raymond Z. Gallun, 1951.

Canada's Inflatable Space Elevator Tower
"...establish an elevator system linking Earth to space?"- Arthur C. Clarke, 1976.

Artificial Gravity? Why Not?
'The artificial gravity-controls in the base of the ship... were being tampered with!' - Ray Cummings

NASA Misses $5Trillion Funding Boost
'This must be a golden planet—this little asteroid.' - Garrett P. Serviss, 1898.

 

Google
  Web TechNovelgy.com   

Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!) is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for the Invention Category that interests you, the Glossary, the Invention Timeline, or see what's New.

 

 

 

 

 

Current News

Ecocapsule - Simak's Dream Of A Prefab House
'They are heated and air conditioned by a solar plant that tops anything... that we have today.'

New Super Slippery Surface Better Than Nature's
'The water flowed off those walls without binding tension.'

Killer Robot COTSBot Stalks Starfish
'X-120's long jointed arms swung swiftly. The tiny animal lay crushed...'

Heart-In-A-Box Saves Organ For Later
'Storage in the hospital's organ banks...'

MultiFab 10-Material 3D Printer
'On the concrete platform, in front of the dying Biltong, lay a heap of originals to be duplicated.'

Chaac Ha Dew Collector ala Dune
'The surface condenses moisture out of the air. That moisture trickles down...'

Digital Immortality For Your Personality
'You've got remote storage. How regular is the update?'

Robots Take Our Jobs By Reading Our Instructions
'The Talk Between Robots radio...'

Surgery In Space
' It was a ... coffin, form-fitted to Nessus himself...'

Flimmer Navy Drone Flies And Swims
Launch the Flying Sub!

Taser Drones Now Legal In North Dakota
'I sent my eyes on their rounds and tended my gallery of one hundred-thirty changing pictures...'

Growing Metal In The Shape You Want
What more do you need, engineers?

Self-Healing Materials For Spacecraft
'It even had an inter-skin layer of gum that sealed the punctures...'

World's First Full-Colour, Flexible Thin-Film Reflective Display
'A wide sheet of clear material suddenly flared with light and swirling colour....'

Jazz AI Compliments Of DARPA
'I request that you feed the correlation between those dots and the levers of the panel into my memory banks.'

Tasty Space Lettuce!
Having tested, we tasted.

More SF in the News Stories

More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories

Home | Glossary | Invention Timeline | Category | New | Contact Us | FAQ | Advertise |
Technovelgy.com - where science meets fiction™

Copyright© Technovelgy LLC; all rights reserved.