Tuesday, 28 July 2009

Ion Engine could one day Power 39-day Trips to Mars

There's a growing chorus of calls to send astronauts to Mars rather than the moon, but critics point out that such trips would be long and gruelling, taking about six months to reach the Red Planet. But now, researchers are testing a powerful new ion engine that could one day shorten the journey to just 39 days.

Rather than astronauts we could send a whole fleet of robot probes for the same cost. The Mars rovers Spirit and Opportunity have done an excellent job thus far so why not send more with upgraded capabilities ? Such exploration would be very cost effective. We can always send people in later decades as the space flight technology improves or if NASA's funding improves, whatever comes first !

[Posted at the SpookyWeather blog, July 28th, 2009.]

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