posted on Dec, 24 2014 @ 01:19 PM
The difference in travel time could be literally years.
The Hohmann transfer (and actually, this is technically incorrect. Hohmann assumes your craft and your destination is orbiting the same body. We use
it to get to the moon as the moon and your craft are both orbiting Earth. Mars is orbiting the sun, and your craft is orbiting the Earth, so it's not
really a Hohmann transfer), involves burning your engines at the right time for the right amount of time so that your craft leaves Earth orbit and
heads out to where Mars will be.
Travel time for that method is measured in months.
Doing what they are talking about means burning (whenever you want) your engines so that your craft heads out away from Earth, and ends up in a solar
orbit around the sun about the same orbit as the Earth.
Then, you have to burn again to increase your apogee so that it reaches about Mars orbit. Then you'd need to burn at apogee (which would take many
months to get to) so that Perigee moves out to about Mars orbit also. You have to also make sure that your velocity around the sun is not quite that
of Mars so the planet can catch up.
BUT, not only do all those burns take a long time, you have to be careful and not slow your velocity down too much, or else your orbit around the sun
will be closer to the sun than Mars, and too far away for Mars to capture. So this means only going a little bit slower than Mars.
That means waiting, and waiting, and waiting and waiting some more for Mars to catch up to you.
Years can go by before that happens.
Not a viable solution for sending people to Mars as the longer they are in space, the worse it is for them (food, air water, cosmic radiation, solar
The only way to get to Mars quicker than the Hohmann transfer would be to have a rocket that can generate enough delta V so that the transfer can be
done when Mars and Earth are a lot closer together, and of course to slow you down once you got there.
No one has a rocket that can do that right now.