The NASA rocket that will allow trips to Mars in just two months | Pulsed plasma rocket | manned trips to Mars | Howe Industries | Science

The NASA rocket that will allow trips to Mars in just two months | Pulsed plasma rocket | manned trips to Mars | Howe Industries | Science
The NASA rocket that will allow trips to Mars in just two months | Pulsed plasma rocket | manned trips to Mars | Howe Industries | Science

In collaboration with the company Howe Industries, NASA is developing an innovative space propulsion system that promises to revolutionize manned travel to Mars. The pulsed plasma thruster (PPR) aims to significantly reduce travel time to the Red Planet, opening up new possibilities for space exploration.

Currently, the duration of space exploration to Mars is stipulated in a long time of six to nine months; However, NASA wants to reduce it to just two months. In the note we tell you what technology is planned to be used to build this new concept.

How does the rocket that will make trips to Mars in two months work?

The company Howe Industries, in a strategic alliance with NASA, is developing a new rocket concept called pulsed plasma booster (PPR) that will be able to shorten travel times to Mars. For the mechanism to work, nuclear energy is needed to generate the thrust needed to move the spacecraft. Therefore, it must go through a process called nuclear fission, which basically consists of splitting atoms to generate movement force.

The PPR can generate up to 100,000 newtons of thrust. To put it in context, a personal car needs around 5,000 newtons of thrust to accelerate quickly on a highway, that is, twice the propulsion. Additionally, the PPR has a specific impulse (Isp) of 5,000 seconds. The Isp analyzes how efficient the rocket is, or rather, it serves as a measure to record how long it can operate with a given amount of fuel. An Isp of 5,000 seconds is very high, which means that the PPR is efficient and needs less fuel to generate thrust.

The benefits of traveling to Mars with the pulsed plasma rocket

The Pulsed Plasma Booster (PPR) will offer great advantages for space exploration, according to NASA. This technology, apart from reducing the travel time to the planet Mars, could reduce the exposure of the members of the manned trip to the dangers of exploring space. This innovative development will also serve to transport heavier spacecraft, which means that more protective equipment and essential supplies can be carried, increasing protection against space radiation.

The PPR will also be useful for sending probes and telescopes to other places in the solar system, such as the asteroid belt, or even further afield. At 550 astronomical units from Earth, the Sun can act as a gravitational lens, focusing light from distant objects and allowing more detailed observations of celestial bodies in space.

Plan that explains the construction of the rocket that would take a crew to Mars in two months. Photo: Howe Industries

How does NASA support the development of the PPR?

NASA has been supporting the development of the PPR through funding from the NIAC (NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts) program. In the first phase of the program, Howe Industries received $175,000 to study the feasibility of the system. This phase included nuclear safety assessment, spacecraft design, power system development, and magnetic nozzle motor efficiency analysis.

In the second phase of the NIAC program, Howe Industries has received an additional $600,000 to continue developing the PPR. In this phase, which has not yet been carried out, the company will focus on designing a large, well-protected ship to carry people and cargo to Mars. Objectives include optimizing the engine design to make it lighter and more efficient, conducting experiments to test major components, and completing the design of a radiation-shielded ship.

 
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