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Mars journey in 39 days
Posted: 1 March 2010

"Franklin Chang-Diaz, a former astronaut and a physicist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), says reaching the Red Planet could be dramatically quicker using his high-tech VASIMR rocket, now on track for liftoff after decades of development.

The Variable Specific Impulse Magnetoplasma Rocket — to give its full name — is quick becoming a centrepiece of NASA's future strategy as it looks to private firms to help meet the astronomical costs of space exploration."

So will magneto-plasma win the Mars race? It still sounds like a fusion engine to me...

Revolutionary 'electric rocket' reaches Mars without fuel
Dateline: 1 April 2029
They said it was impossible, but China has done it. After decades of skeptical press in scientific circles, an engine has been built that actually delivers thrust from microwaves. Of course, on Earth the amount of propulsion is easily overcome by gravity's drag, but in frictionless space this engine is perfect - it only needs electricity, which can be harvested, almost indefinitely, from ...
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