Space is a vast, unending divide. It presents us with new obstacles such as black holes that just seem to wander throughout the galaxy. Other risks include: extremely hot clouds of plasma, space debris, supernovae, and gamma radiation. The universe is a sea of chaos and we are just a leaf floating in a typhoon. It’s hard to say when we’ll final leave this rock, but it’s going to take a lot of baby steps. Our first steps will be colonization and for that we need something that can generate enough propulsion to lesion the time it takes to travel between the nearest orbital bodies.
For the time being, chemical rockets are a great way to leave earths orbit. However, the fuel is cumbersome and adds to the problem. It takes more energy to move the space craft and all that heavy fuel. This adds precious days to a trip. This could me life or death if there’s a problem. Like the Apollo 13 mission, but they were lucky enough to survive.
Ad Astra Rocket Company has been developing and alternate solution to the traditional chemical propulsion. They propose using a VASIMR engine that uses radio waves to ionize hydrogen gas and turn it into plasma. The plasma can be heated up to ten million degrees Celsius as it is directed via high powered magnets. The only issue is powering the engine. There are several options such as a small thorium reactor much like the ones used in planes during the cold war, or solar energy.
At our current rocket technology, seven months seems to be the average time it takes to get to Mars and three days to get to the Moon. In a friction-less environment, The VASIMR engine may cut that time down to a few hours for the moon and forty days to get to Mars. We can only wait and see what the future of space travel will hold for us. Scientists may even find a way to bend space and time by the end of our lives. The trip through the chaotic maelstrom that is our universe will be achievable one day, but until then, we just have to watch the waves hit our shore on this tiny rock.
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