Originally posted by joneschr
Can you provide a reference on this 39 day transit to mars with improvements in ion engines? I'm curious.
I just read about plans to use the VASIMR ion engine to get from low earth to lunar orbit with a month long transit time.
So, if it takes a month to get to the moon, I's hard to see how we get to mars in the same amount of time. I'm curious wha ...[text shortened]... 's inter-planetary, not inter-stellar. Getting to another star is something else entirely.
it was a recent newspaper headline about a Canadian Astronaut quoting that they were developing an ion propulsion engine. if you read the article the 39 days claim is a bit vague but they seemed to be saying it was a new approach and could ' theoretically' get to Mars in 39 daysHOME
Round Trip to Mars: 39 Days or Less [NASA Ion Propulsion Rocket Engine Sends You to Mars and Back in Over a Month; Special Fees May Apply]
Posted by Chris Smith on October 20th 2009 | Respond?
Are you still dreaming about going to Mars one day? Well I can’t promise that you’re actually going to make it as an astronaut but I still have some good news for you. It looks like travelling to Mars is a lot easier nowadays thanks to a new Ion propulsion rocket engine.
Regular trips to Mars take up to two years with current technology with the crew having to wait a full year before the planets realign for a safe return. Well in all honesty, no man or woman has ever gone to Mars although we did send probes and various missions in the past.
Now we find out that in the near future we will be able to go to Mars and back in just 39 days. That would be an impressive achievement for mankind but we shouldn’t expect to see man on Mars in the very near future.
The new Ion propulsion engine has been designed mainly by Canada although it was an international effort as more countries were involved in the project. The engine uses electrical power which could be obtained directly from the Sun and then transformed into thrust. The engine would work non-stop half-way to Mars and it will decelerate the other half. And that’s how you go to Mars in a 39-day period.
All this sounds great in theory but conclusive testing will have to prove that the engine can run for 39 days straight without any problems. The engine will probably be thoroughly tested around the moon so NASA scientists can look at in action in the vacuum of space. The Ion engine could also be used on the space station in order to counteract the current drag which forces astronauts to burn fuel regularly in order to boost their orbit.
In other words, man’s first trip to Mars will not be possible immediately, let alone public tours of the planet. But by the time we get to tell our grandkids Neil Armstrong stories, Mars missions will probably become a lot more popular and much easier to accomplish.
Read more: http://nexus404.com/Blog/2009/10/20/round-trip-to-mars-39-days-or-less-nasa-ion-propulsion-rocket-engine-sends-you-to-mars-and-back-in-over-a-month-special-fees-may-apply/#ixzz0UgnTNWmz
as opposed to about 12 months at present.