California: NASA is developing a new propulsion system that could reduce Mars travel time to just three days!
Philip Lubin of the University of California is working on a system in which laser-propelled spacecrafts with giant sails would make the impossible fete possible.
Lubin has proposed a system that ‘will allow us to take the step to interstellar exploration using directed energy propulsion’ where ‘we would put an entire spacecraft on a wafer to achieve relativistic flight.’
Lubin in his paper that he wrote last year suggests that instead of transporting humans, functional spacecrafts on a wafer could be propelled close to the speed of light using existing propulsion technologies.
“It is no longer fantasy. Recent dramatic and poorly-appreciated technological advancements in directed energy have made what we propose possible, though difficult. There has been a game change in directed energy technology whose consequences are profound for many applications including photon driven propulsion,” he wrote.
Lubin further explained that the impossible outcome could be achieved “by leaving the main propulsion system back in Earth orbit and propelling wafer scale spacecraft that includes cameras, bi-directional optical communications, power and other sensors, and using small laser driven sails to achieve relativistic speeds and traverse the distance to the nearest exo-planets in a human lifetime.”
Watch: Going Interstellar
(Video Courtesy: YouTube)