A British aerospace startup is working on a fusion rocket that it says will shorten the time it takes astronauts to travel to Mars and beyond, allowing humans to explore places currently beyond their reach.
the challenge: Long-term exposure to microgravity and cosmic radiation can cause serious health problems for astronauts. This means NASA must keep future Mars missions short enough for astronauts to return home healthy – Under 4 Should work.
With current rocket propulsion technology, it would only take seven months to get astronauts to Mars. Factor in the time it takes to get back to Earth, and about a third of an astronaut’s Mars mission will be spent navigating.
The idea: British space company Pulsar Fusion thinks it can cut the time it takes to get to Mars in half by harnessing the power of nuclear fusion, the same process that powers the Sun.
“Humanity desperately needs a faster boost in our growing space economy, and fusion delivers 1,000 times the power of conventional ion thrusters currently in use in orbit,” said CEO Richard Dinan.
How it works: Fusion occurs when two atoms join together. This releases an enormous amount of energy, without generating harmful emissions – and is what has long made the exploitation of nuclear fusion the holy grail of clean energy research.
By containing super hot plasma inside electromagnetic fields, several groups were able to trigger fusion reactions – for a brief moment. The challenge now is to figure out how to do this dungeon they.
“Scientists have not been able to control the turbulent plasma because it is heated to hundreds of millions of degrees and the reaction simply stops,” said James Lambert, chief financial officer of Pulsar Fusion. Space Daily said.
fusion rocket: Pulsar Fusion’s plan is to create a fusion rocket, using atomic reaction to create escape velocities that ultimately propel the spacecraft forward at 500,000 mph – the fastest rocket ever launched is 24 791 mph.
It’s the enormously An ambitious goal, but it may actually be easier to sustain the fusion reaction in the very cold vacuum of space than on Earth. whether Pulsar can pull it off, and its fusion rocket can cut the time it takes to send unmanned people and machines all over the solar system.
” [A] “A nuclear fusion rocket could get people to Mars and back in weeks, not months or years,” said Pulsar propulsion engineer Adam Baker. “It could allow us to fly back and forth to the outer planets of the solar system, send people to see the rings of Saturn or the moons of Jupiter. »
I’m eager to : Pulsar recently partners with aerospace research and development company Princeton Satellite Systems (PSS) to conduct a study that will use artificial intelligence to model the behavior of hot plasma in a fusion rocket engine. He also announced that he had started building an eight meter fusion reaction chamber in the UK.
Its goal is to start launching this chamber in 2025 and reach fusion temperatures by 2027. The next step after that will be a test launch to orbit – to prove that a fusion rocket can power the next era of space exploration.
“If we’re going to leave our solar system in a human lifetime, there’s no other technology that we know of that can do that,” Dinan said. Tell TechCrunch.
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