reply to post by Larryman
VASIMR is a huge leap. It is not a science fiction it is science fact. While I fully support NASA researching exotic technologies VASIMR is in
prototype stage and can right now allow humanity to explore the entire Solar System should we decide to build spacecraft to support such and
Just take a submarine design build it in space and put several large VASIMR engines on it and you can visit Pluto and back in a few years time.
Submarines already provide enough nuclear energy to support very large VASIMR engines. If they would invest enough money and speed up VASIMR tests on
the ISS they could easily place humans in orbit around Mars in 5 years.
I really do not want the human race to sit around idle here on planet earth waiting for some barely theoretical anti gravity, wormhole or antimatter
technology that is 20 or 50 years out if its even possible.
VASIMR works and if deployed properly it can open the solar system up for exploration, mining and even colonization should we decide to invest in
Sure lets research fantasy space propulsion but lets not ignore proven technology that is ready today and wait for fantasies to come true.
VASIMR was once a FANTASY and NASA dumped it because they though it was not doable. One man kept on and now has working prototypes.
The VF-200 is the first flight unit of the VASIMR engine. It will be tested on the International Space Station (ISS) where the thrust and performance
can be measured without the limitations of pumping and pressure found in ground-based space simulation chambers. The VF-200 will consist of two 100 kW
thruster units packaged together in one engine bus. The magnetic field of each thruster will be oriented in opposite directions in order to make a
zero-torque magnetic quadrapole, which is important when operating in low earth orbit because the magnetic field of the earth and magnet want to be
aligned. The magnetic quadrapole will also improve the performance of the VF-200 magnetic nozzle.
For humans to travel safely to Mars and beyond, it will be important to make the trip as quickly as possible and thereby reduce the crew's exposure
to weightlessness and space radiation. With today's chemical rockets, a round-trip mission to Mars would take over two years, with much of that time
spent waiting for the right planetary alignment to return.
More rapid transit is possible with a VASIMR® propulsion system powered by a nuclear-electric generator. A 12 MegaWatt VASIMR®-powered craft could
reach Mars in less than four months. A 200 MegaWatt ship could make the trip in as few as 39 days.
From two year trip to 39 days is a huge monstrous leap into the future. The rest of the advanced propulsion tech is only a dream at this point.
So I agree with you that we need to focus on those fantasy ways to travel in space but we need to FAST TRACK VASIMR to orbit. If we had to evacuate
Earth with two or less years warning, VASIMR is our only option.
We can fantasize about deep black programs with Stargate technology and hope even tiny bits are true but I prefer to ground myself in reality first.
Just wanted to add that the magnets needed to path the plasma could also be designed to add additional shielding of any spacecraft from harmful sun
particles and radiation. It would essentially flow the particles around and away from the craft much like earths magnetosphere does for earth.
[edit on 6-6-2010 by Xeven]
I think its first deep space mission should be a robtic one to go out retrieve one of the Voyager craft and bring it home for study and to preserve it
and while there deploy another probe with VASIMR engine to continue along the current path that the voyager craft was on. It should of course include
the same gold disks and laser disks etc... the voyager has. It would of course have a much better communications and scientific instruments designed
to explore deep extra solar space.
[edit on 6-6-2010 by Xeven]