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NASA’s New VASIMR Plasma Engine Could Reach Mars in 39 days

Franklin-with-VASIMR (Image Courtesy Photographers: Robert Markowitz and Bill Stafford.
NASA recently provided $10 million in funding to Ad Astra Rocket Company of Texas for further development of its Variable Specific Impulse Magnetoplasma Rocket (VASIMR), an electromagnetic thruster capable of propelling a spaceship to Mars in just 39 days. NASA’s funding was part of the “12 Next Space Technologies for Exploration Partnership.” Ad Astra’s rocket will travel ten times faster than today’s chemical rockets while using one-tenth the amount of fuel.

The VASIMR system would cut the trip to Mars by months according to Franklin Chang Diaz, a former MIT student, NASA astronaut, and now CEO of Ad Astra.

According to Diaz, “this is like no other rocket that you may have seen in the past. It is a plasma rocket. The VASIMR Rocket is not used for launching things; it is used for things already in orbit. This is called “in-space propulsion.”

VASIMR-System (Image Courtesy http://www.adastrarocket.com/)
VASIMR-System (Image Courtesy http://www.adastrarocket.com/)


VASIMR heats plasma, an electrically charged gas, to extremely high temperatures using radio waves. The system then provides thrust by funneling the hot plasma out of the back of the engine. According to Diaz, VASIMR will save thousands of gallons of rocket fuel and tens of millions of dollars a year.

In the following video, Diaz explains in great detail the origins of space travel and why the magnetoplasma rocket technology will revolutionize space travel and exploration.

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Source www.industrytap.com


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  1. While VASIMR might be able to do it with a couple hundred pounds of fuel, the EM drives that presently work but aren’t supposed to work show great promise. EM drives don’t use a propellant to push the craft around, they use microwaves in a resonant cavity of the right shape. Their thrust is in the micronewtons, 50 – 70ish, but with study and advance, this could be put in the tens of newtons range, beating out any competition with reaction based propulsion. The mechanism of EM drives is still not well-understood.

  2. 4 minutes if yhey develop the warp drive they anounced last year but a step forward using something thats pretty much agaist thr laws of physics probably arnt any laws if therd are we don’t know them yet we just think we’re really clever

  3. Which has been around since the time of Hitler, maybe even before that. So plasma propulsion is old news. Humans have been visiting, the other planets for decades- in secret missions.

  4. Bput time still keeping heavy raps on the theoretical warp drive take 4 minutes then but still promising news to get off workd and set up science stations or colonies because when the earth does get a massive catastrophe human race may be able to survive

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