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Ion engine could one day power 39-day trips to Mars

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posted on Jul, 23 2009 @ 01:23 PM
Here is an article that talks about a new ion engine.


Quote from Article
"There's a growing chorus of calls to send astronauts to Mars rather than the moon, but critics point out that such trips would be long and gruelling, taking about six months to reach the Red Planet. But now, researchers are testing a powerful new ion engine that could one day shorten the journey to just 39 days."

The interesting thing is that the thrust from this engine is about 100 times greater than previous ion engines.

Impulse power slow ahead.

posted on Jul, 23 2009 @ 02:11 PM
Pretty cool stuff.

The question I have is if they are going to use a nuclear reactor to get to Mars in 39 days wouldn't they be able to design a different engine that would lift them to orbit?

Pretty cool none the less.

posted on Jul, 23 2009 @ 02:18 PM
Well now, this could really change things in how we view space travel. Provided on how much this technology could cheapen over the years and be made available to the public, this could potentially start a second space revolution. If the facts presented in this are in fact true about only needing 1 pound of thrust to propel 2 tons(tonnes for the UK people) efficiently, then we could make something slightly higher powered and bigger.

Can you say Star Wars or at least "beam me up Scotty?"

We've got the things now for internally contained environments that reuse human waste and the like along with cleaning air and sustainable food supplies.

We have this for thrust and travel.

We're working on developing the newer faster-than-light communications.

We've proven useful power sources like nuclear fission, along with fusion has been proven recently.

Artificial gravity can be made easily with a wheel style of quarters that spins to provide the gravity.

Now all we need to do is have some way to safely replicate the Earth's magnetic field to protect our spacecraft from the not so nice radiation and similar out in space beyond Earth's protection. Otherwise heavy lead plating comes to mind but that simply adds unneeded weight to the ship itself.

We are now reaching a critical point in mankind's place amongst the stars. We simply need to have a way to bring it all together.

Second star to the right and straight on till morning.

posted on Jul, 23 2009 @ 02:19 PM
reply to post by Hastobemoretolife

When I saw the nuclear power plant, I wondered how do you safely get a nuclear power plant in orbit?

The potential downside of failure in that launch would be huge.

posted on Jul, 23 2009 @ 02:21 PM
baby minds need baby steps..

still "pushing" things away from you to get somewhere?
still burning caveman fires in one direction in order to go the other?

should read: "Antigrav "vril" craft could one day power 39-millisecond trips to Mars"


posted on Jul, 23 2009 @ 02:26 PM
And to add, I say we need to star and flag this thing.
This is bigger than most people realize, this is what people have been hoping for and b----ing about so much.
This is what will define the future of the human species as a whole.
Man is known to himself as a species able to strike great achievements in the face of despair and near hopelessness. Bring this to people's attention, and they can see what we as a whole can do.

posted on Jul, 23 2009 @ 02:28 PM
reply to post by Wildbob77

Well, I don't think they would fire it up until it got out of the atmosphere. That way if there was failure there would be no reaction just the fuel spread all over the place. I think fission is the way to go but we need Helium 3 for that and a few more years of advancement. Also a way to get the fuel.

posted on Jul, 23 2009 @ 02:32 PM
Don't hold your breath, although it is long overdue.

Some of us have been waiting for Ion Drives for far longer than we've been alive.

The Ion Drive was first conceptualized in 1906 by Dr. Robert Goddard, but the working theory didn't arrive until the 1930s when devised by Dr. Hermann Oberth. Dr. Wernher von Braun, a rocket scientist from Germany, and apprentice to Dr. Oberth, consulted with Ernest Stuhlinger, who proposed the idea to the US Army in 1950. The US Army Ballistic Missile Agency gave a green-light to the project in 1958. 40 years later, NASA/Lewis partnered on the NASA Solar Electric Power Technology Applications Readiness (NSTAR) project to develop a working prototype. In 1996, after testing the prototype for 8000 hours at JPL it was added to Deep Space 1 which launched on Oct. 24, 1998.

92 years from conception to utilization!

The Ion Propulsion Engine in Deep Space 1 initially failed after 4.5 minutes into the mission after the Ion Engines were started. The electrical short causing the failure was cleared, thankfully and the mission continued until Dec. 18, 2001 when the Ion Engines were turned off.

The Ion Propulsion Engine used in Deep Space 1 only has 2,100 Watts of Power, which would seriously limit the amount of power available for Life Support Systems for a Long-Term Manned Mission to Mars. Let's hope that it doesn't take another 92 years of development from conception to utilization to make a bigger, more powerful Ion Propulsion Engine such as VASIMR!

[edit on 23-7-2009 by fraterormus]

posted on Jul, 23 2009 @ 02:48 PM

Originally posted by Hastobemoretolife
The question I have is if they are going to use a nuclear reactor to get to Mars in 39 days wouldn't they be able to design a different engine that would lift them to orbit?

A typical Rocket reaching Escape Velocity to reach orbit typically travels at 25,600 miles per hour, expending thousands of pounds of liquid and solid fuel to achieve that speed.

The most powerful Ion Engines only have a speed of 4050 miles per hour, not even close to enough to reach Escape Velocity, but can make the journey to Mars and back on but 150 lbs of fuel, allowing for a significantly smaller spacecraft than other engine types.

This is the main reason we need Orbiting Shipyards. The greatest expense in any Space Mission is getting the craft beyond the Earth's Gravitational Pull. If you remove that barrier, and are able to assemble ships in Earth's orbit, the cost would plummet, while we could make use of better technologies that could get our spacecraft to their destination cheaper, faster, and easier.

posted on Jul, 23 2009 @ 02:53 PM
reply to post by fraterormus

Isn't there a new type of engine though? I really don't think Ion engines are the way to go. Not for a long time at least.

It seems to me time would be better spend trying to mine the moon to get to the helium 3 that is there and developing fission power. Extremely low radiation and produces tons of power.

I guess Ion engines will work for now, but in the long term it just seems like a waste of time.

posted on Jul, 23 2009 @ 02:56 PM
All those kind of projects really need is money. As simple as that. Technologically we are not that far (not sure about 39 ms to Mars trip though
) but there is no "Apollo" mission approach. Once money will flow in, space exploration will get further. So it is either open space for all the greedy corporations or tax people. Both approaches are too problematic to be taken , this is why it is 92 years without good Ion drive,for example.

posted on Jul, 23 2009 @ 03:06 PM
This is a new type of ion engine that has 100 times the thrust of the old ones.

It really could open up near earth space for mankind.

I think it's a pretty exciting development. '

It's left me grinning from ear to ear

posted on Jul, 23 2009 @ 03:15 PM
Ion engines just sound cool.
Life imitates art, huh?

I know they've been using them for quite some time now. Beautiful engines. The last one had enough thrust to hold up a piece of paper. So now it could hold up 100 Pieces of paper...awesome. Designed for the long haul, so it makes me really wonder about how much of an impact it could have on a trip to mars compared to more brutish forms of travel. I wonder how long it would take to accelerate to the point that it was traveling as fast as a vessel using conventional propellants. Of course, it would keep accelerating, but at SOME point, their going to have to start hitting the brakes. It would be really, really interesting to know at what distance this engine becomes a faster means of travel and how long it would take it to get there.

It's interesting, I'll give you that much. This is the part that 'concerned' me...yup advances in science usually concern me.

"It's the most powerful superconducting plasma source ever, as far as we know," says Jared Squire, director of research at Ad Astra.

Velcro came from the space did lots of other things...what could we use the most 'powerful superconducting plasma source ever' for?

posted on Jul, 23 2009 @ 04:47 PM
reply to post by KSPigpen

Give it some stronger structuring and you might make one into a plasma caster if you feed it enough juice. Not sure of how far the effective range of it would be though. Of course then you'd need to focus it as well with the whole aiming system and the like.

posted on Jul, 23 2009 @ 09:43 PM
It sounds like minds and ions over the ether.
The Russians have big plans for the Month long journey.
They even have crews in month long isolation for a simulated mission.
They have a lander like a multi wheeled truck with rocket attached.
A parachute landing.
No Mars walking only encapsulated in a cherry picker.

The Sun kills.
UV damages DNA
The space sham wow continues.

posted on Jul, 23 2009 @ 09:55 PM
well what do you guys think of this?

posted on Jul, 23 2009 @ 09:59 PM
this one might be a good one as well

posted on Jul, 23 2009 @ 10:15 PM
The Alien engine was his I idea to sound crazy so the Nazis let him go home.
He purposely exploded his rocket.
See the last video in the series.

Ions won't go anywhere the way they are used.

Tesla made more ions than the Van De Graff generator and
did we see anything from Tesla fly.
Cause that system is in private hands.
When a craft is surrounded in ions it takes off.
Space ether might just hold more than enough to travel.

posted on Jul, 23 2009 @ 10:30 PM
reply to post by Wildbob77

As far as the new ion engines go, yea these have been in the works for years. I just wonder if they will be implemented?

Good thread.


reply to post by spec_ops_wannabe

Now all we need to do is have some way to safely replicate the Earth's magnetic field to protect our spacecraft from the not so nice radiation and similar out in space beyond Earth's protection. Otherwise heavy lead plating comes to mind but that simply adds unneeded weight to the ship itself.

Ha, we got that in the works too!

Original photo from "Mounir/Laroussi/APTL", additional edits by jkrog08

Left to itself, a plasma - like a gas - will occupy all the geometrical space available, because of the collisions between the particles. Magnetic fields can confine a plasma, because the ions and electrons of which it consists will follow helical paths around the magnetic field lines.

If a vessel containing plasma is placed in a rectilinear magnetic field, the particles of plasma cannot reach the side walls, but they will strike the ends of the vessel. To prevent the particles from coming into contact with the material walls in this way, two types of magnetic configuration have been studied :

Linear Configurations,
in which the intensity of the magnetic field is increased at the ends of the container so that the particles are reflected by the ´magnetic mirrorª before they can come into contact with any material. Unfortunately particle collision effects render the system liable to high particles losses at the mirror points and such systems are no longer being considered as potential reactors;
Toroidal Configurations,
in which the risk of losses is removed by curving the magnetic lines around to form a closed loop. Theoretical study of particle trajectories shows that, if the particles are to be confined, the toroidal field must have superimposed upon it a field component perpendicular to it (i.e. a poloidal field). The force lines of the total field thus become spiral (helical) paths, along and around which the plasma particles are guided.
There are several types of toroidal confinement system, each with its own method of producing helical magnetic field lines. The main types are :

Reversed Field Pinch devices.
In a Tokamak, the toroidal field is created by a series of coils evenly spaced around the torus, and the poloidal field is created by a strong electric current flowing through the plasma.

In a Stellarator, the helical lines of force are produced by a series of coils which may themselves be helical in shape. No current is induced in the plasma.

In a Reversed Field Pinch (RFP) device, the toroidal and poloidal components of the field are created as in a tokamak, except that the current flowing through the plasma is much stronger than in a tokamak with the same toroidal field. The magnetic fields are set up on a time scale such that they undergo a spontaneous internal reorganization,and the direction of the toroidal field within the plasma is reversed.

Here is another, more detailed look at the force feild:

Actual photograph from inside a "JET" chamber, which is using strong magnetic fields to contain plasma and form a stable field.

Both images

Some more

[edit on 7/23/2009 by jkrog08]

[edit on 7/23/2009 by jkrog08]

posted on Jul, 24 2009 @ 05:56 AM

here is the link to the company who makes the VASMIR .. the site got a lot of video's and the system they use can go to mars within 39 days if it is nuclear powered with a 200 kw system.

[edit on 24-7-2009 by MarkLuitzen]

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