Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Could astronauts fly TIE Fighters to Mars?

A joint NASA/Canadian venture - a new ion engine, raises the revolutionary possibility that a manned trip to Mars could take less than 90 days instead of two years.

Ion propulsion, previously theorised only in the realm of science fiction since the '60's Star Trek series and well known propultion system of the imperial TIE [Twin Ion Engine] Fighter from Star Wars. But now mankind itself is close to the point where it could be tested on a flight to the moon, according to a veteran Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield.

“This engine is ... going to be tested on the ISS, launched about 2013,” Hadfield said. “It turns electrical power into thrust so that we can use solar energy to power a spaceship."

Theoretically a craft powered by this engine would take 40 days to reach Mars, compared to six months by conventional rocket power. As Mars and Earth only pass close together every two years, scientists assume a crew could travel one way, wait a year, then fly back the next time the planets were close together. The engine would accelerate a spaceship until it's halfway to Mars, producing a tiny stream of argon gas that it fires out the rear of the spacecraft. Then it turns the engine around and decelerates until reaching Mars.

Read all about it here.

Source: Canada.com / Astrarocket.com / Eamo

1 comment:

vaughan said...

ahhh I was wondering why you had plans for an "Proposed Ion Cannon emplacement Mars 2014 " on your office desk ...still does'nt explaint the Terra prime litrature you have.