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Quick Fusion-Powered Trips to Mars

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Marlin:
Quick Fusion-Powered Trips to Mars No Fantasy, Scientists Say


Sending astronauts to Mars aboard a superfast spacecraft powered by nuclear fusion may seem like a sci-fi dream, but it's entirely attainable, scientists say.

The physics behind a fusion-driven rocket have been demonstrated in the laboratory, so such a device may well be propelling people on 90-day trips to the Red Planet in a matter of decades, according to a team of researchers working on the technology.

"This is a reality, basically," Anthony Pancotti, of the space-propulsion company MSNW, said Sept. 25 during a presentation with NASA's Future In-Space Operations working group. "Fusion occurs in the sun, and also in our labs."

Fast track to Mars

A trip to Mars and back takes about 500 days using traditional chemical propulsion systems. Spending so much time in deep space poses serious health risks for astronauts, who would be exposed to lots of radiation and would have to exercise like mad to minimize bone and muscle loss.

Developing a faster propulsion system is thus a chief goal of NASA, which aims to get people to the vicinity of the Red Planet by the mid-2030s. The space agency has funded Pancotti's fusion-rocket team — led by John Slough of the University of Washington — through its NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts program, or NIAC.

The researchers are designing their work around a potential manned Mars mission that would last a total of 210 days — 83 days for the trip out, 30 days on the surface of the Red Planet and 97 days to get back home to Earth.

"We feel we've defined a very good problem, a very good mission, and we're focused on the fusion device to fit this mission," he said.

Because nuclear fusion is an extremely efficient and powerful energy source, this mission could be accomplished in a single launch of the most powerful version of NASA's Space Launch System mega-rocket, which is in development. It would take perhaps nine launches to mount such an effort with chemical propulsion, Pancotti said.

Read more:
http://www.space.com/23084-mars-exploration-nuclear-fusion-rocket.html

HydroDave63:

--- Quote from: Marlin on Oct 12, 2013, 01:00 ---Quick Fusion-Powered Trips to Mars No Fantasy, Scientists Say


Sending astronauts to Mars aboard a superfast spacecraft powered by nuclear fusion may seem like a sci-fi dream, but it's entirely attainable, scientists say.

The physics behind a fusion-driven rocket have been demonstrated in the laboratory, so such a device may well be propelling people on 90-day trips to the Red Planet in a matter of decades, according to a team of researchers working on the technology.

"This is a reality, basically," Anthony Pancotti, of the space-propulsion company MSNW, said Sept. 25 during a presentation with NASA's Future In-Space Operations working group. "Fusion occurs in the sun, and also in our labs."

Fast track to Mars

A trip to Mars and back takes about 500 days using traditional chemical propulsion systems. Spending so much time in deep space poses serious health risks for astronauts, who would be exposed to lots of radiation and would have to exercise like mad to minimize bone and muscle loss.

Developing a faster propulsion system is thus a chief goal of NASA, which aims to get people to the vicinity of the Red Planet by the mid-2030s. The space agency has funded Pancotti's fusion-rocket team — led by John Slough of the University of Washington — through its NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts program, or NIAC.

The researchers are designing their work around a potential manned Mars mission that would last a total of 210 days — 83 days for the trip out, 30 days on the surface of the Red Planet and 97 days to get back home to Earth.

"We feel we've defined a very good problem, a very good mission, and we're focused on the fusion device to fit this mission," he said.

Because nuclear fusion is an extremely efficient and powerful energy source, this mission could be accomplished in a single launch of the most powerful version of NASA's Space Launch System mega-rocket, which is in development. It would take perhaps nine launches to mount such an effort with chemical propulsion, Pancotti said.

Read more:
http://www.space.com/23084-mars-exploration-nuclear-fusion-rocket.html

--- End quote ---

typo...shouldn't that read "nuclear fusion is an extremely efficient and powerful way to burn billions of dollars in research" ?  ???

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