Nuclear fusion, the energy source that fuels the sun and other active stars, could one day propel rockets that allow humans to go to Mars and back in 30 days, researchers say.
Fusion-powered rockets promise to solve problems of deep-space travel that have long plagued plans for manned missions to Mars — long journeys, high costs and health risks, among them. Scientists at the University of Washington and a space-propulsion company named MSNW say they are getting to closer to creating a feasible fuel for travel to other planets.
‘It could eventually lead to making interplanetary travel commonplace.’- John Slough, a UW research associate professor of aeronautics and astronautics
“Using existing rocket fuels, it’s nearly impossible for humans to explore much beyond Earth,” John Slough, a UW research associate professor of aeronautics and astronautics, said in a statement. “We are hoping to give us a much more powerful source of energy in space that could eventually lead to making interplanetary travel commonplace.”
Previous estimates have found that a roundtrip manned mission to Mars would require about 500 days of space travel. Slough, who is president of MSNW, and his colleagues calculated that a rocket powered by fusion would make 30- and 90-day expeditions to Mars possible. The project is funded in part through NASA’s Innovative Advanced Concepts Program and received a second round of funding under the program in March.
( via foxnews.com )