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Business News/ Science / News/  Is sending astronauts to Mars possible? This NASA-funded rocket aims to do it in 2 months
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Is sending astronauts to Mars possible? This NASA-funded rocket aims to do it in 2 months

This technology could potentially allow astronauts and cargo to travel to and from Mars more efficiently and rapidly than current spacecraft, NASA said

FILE PHOTO: NASA (REUTERS)Premium
FILE PHOTO: NASA (REUTERS)

No astronaut has yet been to Mars, however, a new NASA-funded innovative rocket system is all set to make this travel possible in a span of 2 months.

The challenge of landing humans on Mars includes the need to quickly transport large payloads to and from the planet, which would take almost two years for a round trip using current propulsion technology.

The Pulsed Plasma Rocket (PPR) aims to revolutionise future deep space missions to Mars. It will likely reduce the travel time to the Red Planet to just a few months.

Also read: NASA shares spectacular images of majestic ‘Pillars of Creation’ from Eagle Nebula | See pics

The PPR, under development by Howe Industries, is a propulsion system designed to be far more efficient than current methods of deep space propulsion. It would enable the trip between Earth and Mars to be made in just two months.

Specifically, the rocket will generate up to 100,000 N of thrust with a specific impulse (Isp) of 5,000 seconds.

According to a NASA statement, this technology could potentially allow astronauts and cargo to travel to and from Mars more efficiently and rapidly than current spacecraft. 

Also read: First crewed flight of Boeing Starliner postponed again, says NASA. Here's why

“The system’s high efficiency allows for manned missions to Mars to be completed within a mere two months," the statement read.

PPR, NASA said, enables the transport of much heavier spacecraft that are equipped with shielding against Galactic Cosmic Rays, thereby reducing crew exposure to negligible levels. "The PPR enables a whole new era in space exploration.'

This innovative rocket project is now moving to Phase II of the NASA Innovative Advanced Concept (NIAC) study. 

Also read: NASA shares stunning image: Hubble Telescope captures triple-star system 550 light-years away

In NIAC Phase I, the developers focused on a large, heavily shielded ship to transport humans and cargo to Mars for the development of a Martian base. The main topics included: assessing the neutronics of the system, designing the spacecraft, power system, and necessary subsystems, analyzing the magnetic nozzle capabilities, and determining trajectories and benefits of the PPR.

Herein, the developers will optimize the engine design for reduced mass and higher Isp, perform proof-of-concept experiments of major components, and complete a ship design for shielded human missions to Mars. 

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Published: 19 May 2024, 09:35 PM IST
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